Road Trip: Unrated
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 14, 2000
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The Movie:

There's something about films like "Road Trip" that make you forgive their flaws, or at least most of them. The energetic little movie, powered by several good performances, sometimes wanders down the wrong road. Mostly though, the jokes succeed and the film entertains. The movie stars Breckin Meyer("Go", "Clueless") as Josh, a student at the University of Ithaca, whose girlfriend, Tiffany(Rachel Blanchard) is studying thousands of miles away in Austin, TX.

The two have always kept faithful to one another, until Josh falls for classmate Beth(Amy Smart) and accidentially leaves his video camera on when the two get in bed. Of course, the tape is accidentially mailed to Tiffany, and so our story begins. Or, at least somewhat. "Road Trip" is actually told in flashback by Ithaca school tour guide Barry(Tom Green), who begins to tell the tale of the "Road Trip" once it looks like the latest tour isn't going to well.

When the film is actually focused on the trip, it's extremely funny. Meyer's character (along with Sean William Scott, DJ Qualls, Paolo Costanzo) have some very amusing adventures, starting off with an attempt to jump their car over a washed-out bridge that gets even worse, and going from there. Meanwhile, Beth mistakenly is told that Josh has gone to Boston (kinda sounds like Austin), and she sets off. This subplot really doesn't go anywhere. I would have liked Smart to be put to slightly better use, she's a very good actress. Performances are all quite good, and Scott is even funnier here than he was playing a similar character in "American Pie".

Overall, "Road Trip" is certainly not high art, but offers enough laughs and semi-original situations to provide 95 minutes of laughs. There is an R-rated and Unrated edition of the DVD. This "unrated" edition provides a couple of additional minutes of nudity.


VIDEO: Although "Road Trip"'s presentation is overall very good, it's one of the least impressive that I've seen from Dreamworks. The studio has held up such a strong level of quality for most of their releases, it's unfortunate to see that "Road Trip" is mildly flawed. Sharpness and detail are unformly very good, if not great throughout the movie. Clarity is excellent; this area of the discussion doesn't provide any reasons for concern.

It's elsewhere that a few problems appear in the picture. Print flaws are not highly distracting, but they are noticable. I spotted small speckles and marks on a handful of occasions throughout the film. There are also a few instances where grain is visible. Shimmer turns up a couple of times, but doesn't prove to be too noticable. Pixelation is thankfully absent. These problems didn't take me out of the movie, but together are enough for my opinion of the presentation to be a little less than the usual release from the studio.

And the rest of the comments are positive. Colors look great throughout the movie, very natural and crisp, with no flaws. Black level is solid, and flesh tones are accurate and natural. It's unfortunate that the flaws pop up, because otherwise, the picture quality is excellent. Cinematography is from Mark Irwin, who also did the cinematography for all of the Farrelly Brothers("Dumb and Dumber", "There's Something About Mary") movies.

SOUND: "Road Trip" is presented on this DVD with both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. In terms of the DTS vs. Dolby aspect of the discussion, this was one time where I didn't notice any differences between the two versions of the film.

Both sounded very good, although the material of course doesn't allow the film to become much of an agressive sound experience. I am pleased to say though, that "Road Trip" doesn't follow along with the usual comedy method of keeping everything to the front. There isn't a great deal of surround use, but the occasional light use at least added some life to the presentation. The music is pretty much the star of the show in terms of audio; it sounds dynamic and clear throughout. Dialogue is also very natural and easily understood. Not too far from the usual "comedy" presentation, but at least a moderately entertaining sound offering.

MENUS:: "Road Trip" offers a slightly animated main menu with a "map" background. There are also some animated transitions between menus.


Deleted Scenes: This section offers 8 deleted scenes that play one after another. Although some of them don't work terribly well, there are others that could have ended up in the movie. Most of them were probably cut to keep the film's running time down.

Trailers: Both the theatrical and R-rated trailers, both of which are unfortunately only in Dolby 2.0

Making Of: A short "making of" featurette, which provides the usual interviews and clips from the movie, with some footage of Green goofing around interviewing cast members in between.

Also: Cast and crew bios, production notes, Eels music video and DVD-ROM materials including a trivia game. If you're looking for the scene index, it's strangely included in the "special features" menu.

Final Thoughts: "Road Trip" is definitely one of the better teen comedies that've been out there in the past few years. The DVD provides very good, but not fantastic audio/video, and a few minor extras. If you're a fan of this genre, you might find "Road Trip" is a journey worth taking..

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