Without a Paddle
dir. Brill
Opens Fri Aug 20
Various Theaters

Without a Paddle takes place in a fictional Oregon, on a fictional camping/canoeing trip down the fictional Spirit River. Three friends--Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, and the curiously funny Dax Shepard--embark on a trip after their childhood friend Billy dies. Their journey serves as homage to Billy's dream of finding the famed treasure of skyjacker/parachutist D.B. Cooper. Apparently, D.B. disappeared 30 years ago in the backcountry wilderness, and pal Billy conveniently discovered a map leading right to the treasure. When Billy tragically died, these three chowderheads took on the case.

Despite the juvenile plot (and the presence of Matthew Lillard, the most grating and horrible actor working today), Without a Paddle is funnier than you would think. The boys get caught up in all sorts of shenanigans, from bear attacks to boating disasters to tree sitting to backwoods rednecks with a thirst for blood. (Even though Burt Reynolds makes an appearance, in a goofy nod to Deliverance, the film isn't nearly serious enough to veer into redneck butt-raping territory.)

This is yet another flick in the Dodgeball, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and Anchorman vein--where the premise is ludicrous, and therefore tons of bizzaro shit can go down with little to no explanation. While I have a hard time spending eight bucks to see any of these films, they're refreshing to have around, especially when you're exhausted from watching the news or don't feel like spending your leisure time pondering the depravity of the human race with Outfoxed or Fahrenheit 9/11.

If you're looking for a stupid film to help pass one of these ridiculously hot days, or an elixir to guide you through a marijuana freakout, this is as good of a choice as any. You'll hardly have to think at all, and you'll be rewarded with 10 or 12 gut-busters for your marginal effort.