Without a Paddle

Without a Paddle

What She said:


How best do I describe Without a Paddle?  It’s not one of those wild shock-value comedies, even though, considering the cast, you might assume it to be.  Instead, Seth Green, Dax Shepard, and Matthew Lillard come together for a sort of coming-of-age guy bonding session.  There’s comical moments, for sure, but overall, the film falls a little flat in humor, adventure, and meaning. 

The plot follows three friends who come together after the tragic death of their fourth best bud, Billy.  The 30-year-olds decide to pay tribute to their fallen brethren by embarking on a quest to find D.B. Cooper’s treasure.  If you don’t know who D.B. Cooper is\was, Wikipedia it.  Even better, I’ll put a link to the entry here.  It’s a ridiculous plan which is founded upon childhood sentiment.  Of course, the trek doesn’t go as planned.  The guys immediately find that they’re not up to snuff for handling the wilderness of the American Northwest.  They encounter rapids, bears, hippies, and drug harvesters.  So much peril.  But they also continue forward with their quest to honor Billy’s legacy.

Without a Paddle has the right concept—the bones are there—but the execution is shoddy.  What should be a very funny group of guys are somewhat held back.  Some of the humor works, but far too much of it does not.  This is a writing problem, one that should have been recognized and fixed at various points in the filmmaking process.  Instead, we have a movie that fails to entertain on several levels.  Borrowing so much of its feel from The Goonies, the film does not live up to that standard.  It’s not as fresh, spirited, or inspired, and so you’ll just wonder why you didn’t just watch the Speilberg/Donner movie instead.

I’m not going to say that I hated the movie.  There were moments that I actually enjoyed.  But overall Without a Paddle doesn’t do much to make the viewer want to invest the hour and a half.

Thumbs down.

What he said:


Weird movie. Those are the first words that come to mind when I think of this movie. I say that for a few reasons. First, it was loaded with awkward character interactions that are supposed to be funny, but you end up staring at the screen feeling as uneasy as the characters themselves seem to be. I also think it was a weird movie, because despite all of bizarre moments, I did actually laugh more than a few times. The movie was filled with poorly written and downright unfunny moments, but I’ll damned if it didn’t make me laugh several times.

This movie is about three friends played by Seth Green, Dax Shepard, and Matthew Lillard. They come together after many years apart and finally decide to follow through on a promise they all made as kids. Their journey is one of adventure and (hopefully) riches. The plan is to find the remains of the legendary thief D.B. Cooper.

The movie is very clearly aiming to be The Goonies (review here) for adults. That’s fine and actually quite welcome as far as I am concerned. However, it falls flat on so many levels. While there are some pretty funny moments, there are more awkward ones. It also fails to capture the heart that kind of story needs. You can tell they are trying, but the performances seem totally phoned in at times. This movie felt like wasted potential. There were some funny moments and you wanted to feel the bond they were going for, it was just so poorly executed.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on August 7, 2012.