Reviews

'Road Trip' vs. 'American Pie': A Battle of Seanns

Some may argue that American Pie is a prequel of sorts to Road Trip. But in my circle of friends, you had to pick a side.


Road Trip

Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Fred Ward, Tom Green
Length: 94 minutes
Studio: Dreakworks SKG, The Montecito Picture Company
Year: 2000
Distributor: Dreamworks
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, crude humor, language and drug use
Release date: 2012-05-15

When I was a young lad with budding romances and raging hormones, I’d say two comedies characterized my pre-college attitude towards, well, women: Road Trip and Moulin Rouge!. Thankfully, I grew out of the more immature film of those two (to a certain extent). But more importantly, I think most young men were defined by just two films: a random film of personal importance (for me, it was the overtly powerful romance found in Moulin Rouge!) and either Road Trip or American Pie.

Obviously, more people latched onto Jason Biggs’ comedy than Breckin Meyer’s, seeing that one actor is still regularly working in feature films and network TV shows while the other is working almost exclusively woring for low-rated cable television networks. Yet I chose then and choose now Breckin Meyer. And Amy Smart. And the awfully-named E.L. version of Seann William Scott over the greatly-titled Stifler. I choose college over high school. After watching it again on the new Blu-ray release and also choosing not to see the third sequel to American Pie, I feel very, very good about my decision.

Road Trip tells the simple story of its title. Four college pals go on a cross-country road trip to save one of their relationships from certain doom. Josh (Meyer) kind of, sort of cheated on his girlfriend and then accidentally mailed the sex tape of his affair to his long distance love. Is he kind of, sort of, a moron? Yes. Do we want him to get to the scandalous piece of mail before his lady lays eyes on it? Kind of. Sort of.

The premise barely matters. If it did, I hope writer/director Todd Phillips and co-writer Scot Armstrong would have constructed one more vital to my young mind. However, saving one relationship where I get to have sex because I had sex with someone else would have been pretty high on my priority list back in the day, rather than the shameful behavior it sounds like today.

But the fun doesn’t lie in the cliffhanger of whether or not he’ll make it in time. I mean, come on. What do you think will happen? The fun, like most real life road trips, is in the journey. Between an ill-fated short cut, the theft of a school bus from a blind woman, and a raucous party with an all-black fraternity, there’s more than enough adventure to sustain the laughs for either 93 minutes (the rated version) or 94 (unrated – imagine what kind of raunchy material they’ve added in 60 seconds!).

Yes, it’s juvenile. No, it’s not for everyone. The odds are you’re either a fan right now, or you’re not. It may not have the melodramatic moments found in American Pie, but it’s all the funnier for it. Those instants are so rare for college-aged, college-minded men and women, anyway, they’re extremely hard to fit into raunchy comedies aimed at that very generation. I don’t remember any such moments occurring in Animal House. You know why? Because not only are they rare, but they’re unwelcome. They make people feel uncomfortable, especially when they (the viewers, that is) are too immature to process them properly.

The extras included on the new Blu-ray release do little to dissuade rumors of the film’s maturity. The lone behind-the-scenes feature, “Ever Been on a Road Trip?”, is a haphazardly thrown together montage of clips from the movie and behind the scenes footage shot by cast and crew. Tom Green conducts a few brief interviews with his cast mates that are as strange and off-putting as he always is (well, was – when was the last time Tom Green was in a movie?).

The deleted scenes last just under 11 minutes and actually include a couple of funny moments, though none of it made me wonder why it was cut. Capping off the bonus footage are two international trailers, a teaser trailer, and an Eels music video. All in all, it’s not much. But I’d say it’s as much as anyone invested in this movie would want – just like the movie itself.

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