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Four friends take off on an 1800 mile road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a girl friend.
For more about Road Trip and the Road Trip Blu-ray release, see Road Trip Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 20, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, D.J. Qualls, Tom Green
Director: Todd Phillips
» See full cast & crew
Road Trip Blu-ray Review
Take the trip to Best Buy to pick up this Comedy gem.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 20, 2012
The greatest story ever told.
So Road Trip might not be the greatest story ever told -- there's already a movie called The Greatest Story ever told. Duh! -- but it's a good one, a mighty funny one, one that's withstood an admittedly small test of time but that's already solidified itself as a proven genre winner with legs to carry it well into the future. Director Todd Phillips' (The Hangover) 2000 Comedy takes a rather light look at the perils and pitfalls and purposes and punishments and prizes to be found in the course of an 1,800 mile jaunt from the Northeast to deep down South into the heart of the Lone Star State. But the film isn't so much about geography -- the way the film plays, it could have been Omaha to Los Angeles, Miami to Chicago, Seattle to Fairbanks, even -- as it is the people who embark on the journey. A few road signs distinguish Road Trip's locations from any old generic places around the country, and the film does a fantastic job of developing its characters rather than simply keeping up with them on the map as they make their way towards a destination that's more of a thing -- an errant sex tape -- and not a place. The movie's incredibly funny, evenly paced, superbly acted, and effortlessly directed. In short, and to be trite, Road Trip is, yes, definitely a trip worth taking.
Josh (Breckin Meyer) and lifelong girlfriend Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard) have never been apart: until now. Josh has chosen to attend college at Ithaca, while Tiffany's gone south for a stint in Austin, Texas. They've tried to stay in touch, but long distance relationships are hard, even with the aid of modern technology. Josh sends Tiffany videotaped greetings on a regular basis, and he has another ready to go. He's late for class, so he leaves the tape in the hands of friends Rubin (Paulo Costanzo), E.L. (Seann William Scott), and Barry (Tom Green) to mail out. Little does he know that by the time they get around to taking it to the post office, that tape will be accidentally replaced with a sex tape Josh has made with Beth (Amy Smart), a fellow Ithaca student with whom he spends the night after coming to believe Tiffany's been unfaithful to him. Josh learns that the truth places Tiffany back home to attend her grandfather's funeral, which gives him exactly three days to make the 1,800 mile journey from Ithaca to Austin to retrieve the tape and save his relationship. Meanwhile, a Philosophy final -- on which he must score a B+ or better to pass the class -- looms over his head. An unfazed Josh heads south with Rubin, E.L., and their only friend gullible enough to loan them his car, Kyle (DJ Qualls), to retrieve the package before disaster strikes.
Road Trip works so well because it settles into the expected genre cadence and produces all of the typical genes escapades, but it does so with passion for the material and works it all into the story in such a way that audiences aren't left feeling that this or that appears in the movie because it necessarily has to, and not even because it should, but because it's all an integral part of the story. Add that the "story" is actually the product of a pretty crazy imagination -- it's told and embellished, the "juicy" parts in particular, by Tom Green's "Barry Manilow" character as part of a sell job to entice students to attend Ithaca -- and suddenly gratuitous breast shots and whatnot seem not just cliché or male eye candy, but rather acceptable, expected, welcome, and absolutely integral pieces of the Road Trip puzzle. That's the key. The movie might be "dumb," but it never assumes the same of its audience. The audience knows it's being sold a predetermined, genre-basic bill of goods, but it's not spoon fed or presented the material in a basic, no-frills, rip-off sort of package. Every little element has been worked into the film just so, and even as it maneuvers through the same old stuff, it feels fresh and welcome. It's all reflected in DJ Qualls' "Kyle" character. He knows he's being played at the start when the others just want him for the car and the credit card, just as the audience knows the filmmakers are doing the same, luring in viewers with T&A and the supposed promise of more of the same. But by the end, everything works out in everyone's favor, and what started as and might very well have been a very straightforward, unoriginal, heavily clichéd experience becomes something much more user-friendly, more endearing, more entertaining.
And the clichés don't just start and stop with those bare-chested females. Road Trip squeezes in all of the expected little elements of the Road Trip movie playbook, including the destroyed vehicle and the search for alternate means of transportation, shady characters along the way, creepy hotels, crude restaurant staff, money shortages and unique means of making ends meet, and a gun-toting worrywart father chasing the gang down thrown in for good measure. Even as it moves from one typical situation to the next, the picture plays with purpose and a breezy, watchable, fun tenor. It features likable actors who absolutely become their lame-brained characters. Even those characters represent various extremes and clichés, but once again Road Trip so lovingly paints them and makes them seem real and not simply recreations photocopied out of that genre playbook that viewers won't feel as if they've seen and met them all before in a dozen other movies. The audience will feel that it received its money's worth with this one. The cast gives the movie its all, the majority of the jokes hit dead center, and the movie plays briskly and with purpose. It's endlessly fun and even endearing; Road Trip just flat-out works.
Road Trip Blu-ray, Video Quality
Road Trip features a sturdy and nice-looking 1080p Blu-ray transfer. Paramount's latest catalogue title to make the transition to high definition serves up a faithful, nicely defined image. Detailing is impressive throughout the film. Faces aren't infinitely complex, nor are clothes, but the image enjoys honest, natural definition in all of the major elements. Clarity and precision texturing impress when the camera looks at odds and ends in Josh's dorm room, the brick façades around campus, and natural greenery. Light film grain accentuates the positives, and the print plays with very minimal speckling and debris in place. Colors favor a slightly warm shading, but are otherwise vibrant and steady and many. The picture provides colorful clothes and objects, all playing with wonderful balance, accuracy, and authenticity. Black levels are fine, and flesh tones appear only the slightest bit warm. Light edge enhancement is present, but banding, blocking, and other unwanted intrusions are not readily evident. Despite a few minor hiccups, this catalogue transfer looks quite good in the whole. Fans will be impressed.
Road Trip Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Road Trip pulls onto Blu-ray with a quality DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. It occasionally feels lacking in volume and energy -- at the start of the movie and as heard during the opening title music in particular -- but it finds more aggressive elements and moments later on. Music at a party a little bit later in the film plays with more oomph, higher volume, better spacing, and an evident surround support element. General ambience is limited, but mostly effective. An explosion in chapter ten enjoys good power and plenty of surround information, nicely placing the listener in the middle of the momentary chaos. Generally, however, this is a movie built on dialogue. The spoken word plays with fine definition and accuracy through the center channel. This track won't redefine the Comedy audio experience, but it generally handles all that's asked of it very well.
Road Trip Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Road Trip contains a brief collection of lackluster extra goodies. Additionally, this Blu-ray contains both the theatrical (1:33:42) and extended (1:34:13) versions of the film.
Road Trip Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Road Trip embraces genre cliché and makes it all a part of the story, not simply a collection of elements "necessary" to "sell tickets" or inserted for some such other reason. This isn't smart filmmaking or high art, but it's smartly and artfully done. Road Trip assumes its audience is smarter than the average teen genre Comedy, and the film gives viewers a picture that's a cut above the usual trash while still providing many of the trashy elements. It's fun, infinitely watchable, very well acted, and it takes its time developing several memorable, likable, characters. It's not the pinnacle of Comedy, but as far as "raunchy" Teen comedies go, they don't get much better than this. Paramount's Blu-ray release of Road Trip, exclusive to Best Buy at time of publication, features strong video and audio, two cuts of the film, and a few extras. Enthusiastically recommended.
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Road Trip Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Road Trip Exclusively at Best Buy - April 13, 2012
Paramount Pictures will release director Todd Phillips' comedy Road Trip (2000), starring Tom Green, Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott and Amy Smart. The Blu-ray release will be available for purchase exclusively at Best Buy on May 15th.
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