Road Trip (2000)
April 16, 2024 10:08 AM - Subscribe

Four college buddies embark on a road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.

Josh (Breckin Meyer) videotapes his affair with another girl and accidentally mails it to his girlfriend. Discovering the mistake, he tows two of his college buddies -- and one not-so-eager kid who happens to own the car -- on a raucous 1,800-mile road trip from Ithaca, N.Y., to Austin, Texas, to save his lifelong romance.

Wesley Morris: It's a feat Phillips and Armstrong accomplish without asking any of its four stars to hump an apple pie. The difference between "Road Trip" and last summer's now iconic "American Pie" is that this new film, with its similar preoccupations, doesn't punish curiosity with humiliation.

What the two films share is a fascination with the absurdity of the emotional-sexual evolution of boys. But what some mistook for a poignant/raunchy coming-of-age comedy, so to speak, was executed like an achingly inept horror film, carried to glory by its four endearing young explorers and a killer dismount. Slightly more mature and better assembled, "Road Trip" goes one better on "American Pie" by teasing out the idiosyncrasies in four guys existing in a personality grab bag. The film also boasts an actual narrative, however standard, as well as selfless MTV jester Tom Green, for a second ply of comic relief.


But despite its petered-out story, the ideas about young men are shockingly progressive: sexual stimulation of the prostate turns out to be a good thing, as does losing it to a full-figured woman, which Kyle does with a sister named Rhonda.

Staggeringly in-tune with his black and Hispanic cousins, Kyle may be the only man in Hollywood who knows what to do with a 42-35-48 and truly espouse the passions in Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back." The Kyle-Rhonda tryst is used as a joke but, like a lot of the action in "Road Trip," it's rendered sincerely. Even Green, whose sick humor resists cynicism and irony even at the risk of plain stupidity, has an exterior charm that belies his sociopathic behavior, which for my money, is a cry for help.

Karla Peterson: But for all its rude-boy intentions, "Road Trip" assembles its crusty building blocks in a surprisingly tame way. Of course, it is crass, crude and disgusting. Not to mention dumb and sexist. But with the exception of Tom Green's inspired performance as a mouse-gobbling psycho, "Road Trip" is surprisingly short on anarchic lunacy. It is another lumpy package off the gross-out comedy assembly line, and a rather stale one at that.

The intermittent fun begins on the campus of the University of Ithaca, where tour guide Barry (Green) attempts to jazz up the school's image with a little story. Eyes popping with the effort of maintaining some semblance of sanity, Barry launches into his version of "The Greatest Story Ever Told." It involves two high school sweethearts, one incriminating videotape, and a trip that will change the lives of four friends forever. Or at least until summer break.

Patrick J Mullen: I enjoyed the cast. I’d describe it as incredibly dated, but at the same time, back in 2000, this must have felt so current. Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, and Amy Smart are all pretty fun. DJ Qualls is a bit much to take, to be honest, and I think Paulo Costanzo isn’t as funny as he probably should be. And I love Anthony Rapp, but he’s kind of wasted here.

But I found myself laughing more than I thought I would. It’s a gross-out comedy, so it’s definitely not for everyone.

posted by Carillon (12 comments total)
I was very much in the right demographic when this came out on VHS/DVD as I was a teenage boy. I do remember it as less vindictive and more fun than a lot of other similar movies at the time. I'd have to rewatch to see how well the depiction of make friendship holds up. I remember it having less of the gay policing that was sadly quite common at the time (see the 40 year old virgin for instance), but generally pretty positive about sex and what they were going through.

I did likeWesley Morris' point too that it doesn't punish their curiosity with humiliation, that's something I hadn't connected much before, but will want to sit with.
posted by Carillon at 10:23 AM on April 16

I actually think that is Eurotrip, a similar movie to be sure.
posted by Carillon at 11:04 AM on April 16

Yep - Euro Trip!
posted by kbanas at 11:26 AM on April 16

It's 100% Eurotrip, which is often sold with Road Trip as a packaged pair. And ya know, it's a good packaging.

Road Trip surprised me when it came out in a good way. Tom Green, at that point, it's been while since I've seen him in something, wasn't always the most solid actor and it felt a little stunt acting (to me) at the time when he showed up in the trailer. But the cast were sincere, DJ Quals always brings this level of heart to the projects he's attached to. You can feel the writing process as the characters make their way with the writers pausing at every juncture and going, "How can we flip this? What is the opposite of what would likely happen?" It works, though.
posted by Atreides at 11:33 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Ah, crap, that is the other one. I get those mixed up, clearly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:11 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

WHAT IS UP with these Fan fare posts about the stupid comedies that I love? I don't know, but I'm here for it. There's something about this 200X crop that's fundamentally different from the raunchy comedies of the 80s like Revenge of the Nerds, Porky's, Animal House (1978 counts as the 80s in this context) (speaking of which, WHY DID OUR PARENTS THINK IT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR US TO WATCH THOSE). They seem to have a much more wholesome/positive vibe. Apatow-genre movies are often about the protagonist becoming more mature (40-year old Virgin, Knocked Up, I Love You, Man) which, in context of their predecessors, seems like an odd development.
posted by bq at 10:39 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Yeah I was thinking about Porky's last night as I was considering which I should be posting. That was one that really is such a weird fucking movie.
posted by Carillon at 11:04 AM on April 17

Porky's has already been posted.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:22 PM on April 17

It's not a movie I have much nostalgia about, but I'll admit to having really enjoyed this movie when I was younger and having watched it a good dozen times. It's nice to hear that it apparently hasn't aged too badly.
posted by Alex404 at 9:36 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Totally! I was thinking about the different tranches of these horny comedies and how they've changed over the years. I wonder if there's anyone who has done a taxonomy of them and the different eras, these do feel different than the stuff that comes before and after.
posted by Carillon at 10:21 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]

Totes. Still very male though. Katherine Heigl wasn’t wrong when she commented after Knocked Up that there are basically no female characters in Apatow movies. I mean, yes, there are female characters, but not female characters with character arcs. No protagonists. Women are responsible and stay responsible or are fuckups and stay fuckups or are prizes/goals. I did miss 27 Dresses and The Sweetest Thing, so I can’t say if they actually belong in this bucket or not. A few years after that I had kids and stopped watching movies….Trainwreck is the closest thing I can think of that ‘Apatow but female’.
posted by bq at 7:56 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

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