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Tripping the Highways Fantastic

By Soman S. Chainani, Crimson Staff Writer

With two papers due the next day and a lot on my mind, I went into Road Trip nursing a very, very bad mood. I also wasn't particularly thrilled about seeing what people were calling an American Pie rip-off, a There's Something About Mary gross-out clone where the raunch was heaped on the audience just for the sake of getting a few shocked laughs. In other words, if Road Trip wasn't damned good, I was perfectly happy to tear it apart.

And what do you know, I laughed. I laughed a lot. In fact, I laughed so much that I felt guilty-because Road Trip is beyond offensive. It's vile, completely disgusting, thoroughly immoral, but ohhh sooo good. Remember, American Pie and Mary set the bar for raunch comedies so each succeeding one has to raise that bar; so Road Trip has a lot of ground to cover in 90 minutes-i.e. potty humor, racist sight gags, lots of nudity, jokes at the expense of the blind, etc.

The plot's just barely there. College student Josh (Meyer) accidentally sends his long-distance girlfriend a videotape of his drunken infidelity, and with three days to intercept the tape, he drags along some friends on the road trip from Ithaca, New York to Austin, Texas. For most of the movie, then, plot becomes irrelevant-the script uses the empty time on the road to pack in as many laughs as possible. You'll watch Josh & Co. try to clear a broken bridge with their rich friend's new car. You'll visit Josh's grandmother's house and visit with his grandpa who has a perpetual hard-on (I'm not kidding). You'll even make a pitstop at a caf where the waiters put the french toast in their pants before serving it as punishment for demanding patrons.

I don't know why I laughed so much. Now that I think about it, I'm embarrassed. Maybe if I try to analyze it a bit more. One of the reasons the movie works so well is because of the earnestness of the cast-like American Pie, these guys have the requisite chemistry to pull off the bonding scenes. Sean Scott (who played Steve Stifler in American Pie) lives up to his typecasting as the fuddy-duddy jock and gets the movie's raunchiest scenes; Paulo Costanzo makes his movie debut as the thoughtful one in the group; and DJ Qualls plays the standard nerdy virgin, only with a little less restraint.

What about Tom Green? The trailers trick you into thinking he's the whole movie, but Tom actually doesn't go on the road trip. As Josh's roomie, he stays behind to monitor his pet snake-and to feed it. And if you've seen the previews, you know quite well that Tom has a field day with a field mouse, teasing the snake with it and even putting it into his own mouth to demonstrate how the chomping should be done. ("That mouse spent all afternoon in my mouth," said Green in interviews. "I even think it went poo-poo in there.")

If I say too much more, I'll spoil all of Road Trip's best gags, so I'll just encourage you to go see Road Trip regardless of how bad it makes me look. Just don't take your mother.

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