Without A Paddle


Reviewed by: Josh Morrall

Without A Paddle
"The film's weakness lies in its lack of comedy."

This is not a good film.

I thought it might surprise me; the trailer wetted my appetite for Seth Green and Dax Shepherd, who looked to be on top comedy form, and despite the fact that I loathe every inch of Matthew Lillard's smug face, I decided that I would go and see Without A Paddle.

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It's a simple premise: three school friends reunite to hunt down a treasure they fantasised about when their old buddy (Antony Starr) was still alive. En route, they encounter many humorous obstacles, fat redneck weed growers included, as well as calamity and the occasional joke.

The film's weakness lies in its lack of comedy. There are funny moments, but so fleeting and quickly replaced by a return to the serious nature of much of the friends's dialogue. Their chemistry is mediocre and the most positive feature is that they are given quite singular personalities, which helps the humour along, whenever it raises its elusive head from out of the undergrowth, with the exception, it must be said, of Lillard's Jerry, who seems torn in two directions, making him less amusing to watch than the others.

The plot is executed to its full extent and you are certainly given your money's worth, as the film seems to stretch on for quite some time, the New Zealand location providing an epic quality, which is wasted.

The actors do their jobs and there is a fairly well used, well meaning moral handed down at the end - with a lead weight.

The film wants to push itself more into the drama (and, in some ways, romance) than it can really handle and the strong homoerotic element is depressingly dealt with in a childish fashion.

There needs to be a greater injection of comedy (one-liners, set pieces and slapstick), with less of the drawn out, flat chase sequences.

Without a paddle is how this cast should have stayed.

Reviewed on: 07 Jan 2005
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Three school friends meet up as respectable, bored adults and decide to go on a treasure hunt.
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Read more Without A Paddle reviews:

Gator MacReady ****

Director: Steven Brill

Writer: Jay Leggett, Mitch Rouse

Starring: Matthew Lillard, Seth Green, Dax Shepard, Burt Reynolds, Ray Baker, Ethan Suplee, Abraham Benrubi, Antony Starr, Nadine Bernecker, Danielle Cormack, David Stott, Bonnie Somereville

Year: 2004

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US/New Zealand


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