I got free tickets to see the movie, part of a local radio station's promotion. I didn't expect much, but hey, who can turn down free tickets? I was right about free tickets and wrong about the movie. I didn't expect much and was incredibly surprised. This is one of the funniest movies of the year.
Don't expect cerebral humor. You won't get it here. In fact some of the humor is just plain gross. It's physical and at times crude potty humor. And if you're a stuffy grown-up who just can't let go and enjoy yourself for an hour and a half, then don't bother going to see Without a Paddle. But it you want to cut loose and have fun and laugh 'til you hurt, then this is the movie for you.
Seth Green, as always, plays it straight and ends up being the funniest one of all. And in Without a Paddle he certainly shows that he is one of the most self-assured, well-adjusted people on the planet, or he wouldn't have been able to handle a script that was one big "Pick on Seth" Festival. Green's character, Dan, is phobic, funny, and feckless. Poor Dan can't catch a break throughout the whole movie, but he sure keeps on trying, and in the end he's still short but a mighty big man. We just gotta hope he buys a new cell phone, and once you see the movie, you'll know why.
Lillard still is reminiscent of Shaggy from both Scooby Doo movies, but man oh man, that dude sure can surf a canoe like no one else. More than just a surfer dude, though, Lillard's character, Jerry, turns out to be the deep one who proves a spiritual anchor for his two childhood buddies, both during the adventure and after. Well sort of...as spiritual as Without a Paddle gets. Not anything sappy. Just enough to give it that "Awwww..." factor.
Burt Reynolds has come a long way from his Cosmo centerfold days in his appearance in Without a Paddle, but his character still seems to be stuck in the glory days of the 70's in many ways. Delightful, charming, and crotchety all at the same time, Reynolds is a cute addition to the cast.
Hick farmers, stoned doggies, "natural" beauties, a nasty sheriff, and a third childhood buddy round out the main characters, along with some secondary folks. Stereotypes abound, anything even coming close to sentiment is closely followed by more laughs, and a message is thrown in seemingly only as a token. The only bad thing is that sex is thrown in as a token too. Way too much of it, and it seems like a distraction rather than an addition to the humor. The worst of it is that the sex makes it less of a film for family members to enjoy together. Too bad, otherwise it's a great film for non-uptight parents and their kids.
This is not going to be an Oscar nominee. It's probably not the highlight of anyone's movie career. But I'll bet it was a heck of a lot of fun to make. And it's one funny film to watch. I highly recommend it!