I have a soft spot for goofy comedies. "Billy Madison"
and "Tommy Boy" are tough to beat, in my book. (I have
friends who trek annually to Sandusky, OH to pay
homage to Tommy Callahan.) From classics like "The
Jerk" to more recent flicks like "Road Trip," I enjoy
a harmless tickle of the medulla oblongata from time
So when I saw that the affable Kelso (Ashton Kutcher)
from "That 70's Show" was teaming up with
super-obnoxious Stifler (Seann William Scott) from
"American Pie" in "Dude Where's My Car?" (IMDb listing), I figured another mindless good time in the
theater would be had.
But the only thing "had" was me. And gone is any
lingering hope that Hollywood cares about making
movies that don't stink.
Want a plotline? The title says it all: Two stoners,
Jesse (Kutcher) and Chester (Scott), can't remember
where they went or what they did the night before--or
where they parked their car. The rest of the movie is
spent piecing together the previous night's
debauchery, soothing the bruised egos and trashed
domicile of their twin girlfriends Wanda and Wilma
(cutie-pies Jennifer Garner and Marla Sokoloff, who
should be thankful for their minimal screen time), and
generally finding out why everyone in town is out to
get them in a bad way.
As Jesse and Chester begin to reconstruct the last 24
hours, paper-thin subplots form out of thin air,
gathering like stormclouds. How about a search for an
obscure hunk of galaxial technology led by
shape-shifting alien sexpots and a bubble-suit-clad
doomsday cult led by "Talk Soup" alum Hal Sparks?
(Nickelodeon fans, be sure to spot "Donkeylips" from
"Salute Your Shorts!") Brent Spiner (Data in "Star
Trek: The Next Generation") as--get this--a French
ostrich farmer? Andy Dick has a briefly funny cameo as
a deviant incarcerated trespasser on Spiner's farm.
There's even a transsexual stripper who demands a
suitcase of money, a wild tangent which instead of
shocking is merely annoying. One of the film's lone
amusing moments isnıt even part of the main storyline:
itıs a cutaway scene of a pool party where the main
characters dress up in cheesy hip-hop gear and shuffle
to Young MC's "Bust A Move."
While a weak plotline is tolerable, shoddy, pointless
characters are inexcusable. What's worse is how
certain characters in this movie, intended to be
random and funny, are merely rip-offs from
contemporary comedic favorites. A startlingly-jovial
black female service worker is a poor reconstruction
of Billy Madison's house maid. The whole town itching
to kick your ass? Go see "PCU" (and stay for the
P-Funk concert!). Stoners overcoming adversity? A
common theme, with pop-cult roots in "Revenge of the
Nerds." There's even an interstellar ambiguously gay
duo, impossibly reminiscent of Robert Smigel's snarky
animated short from "Saturday Night Live."
As a last gasp at humor, the closing credits treat the audience with bloopers and outtakes from filming.
This was a fitting finale; unlike "Ferris Bueller,"
the audience wasn't implored to go home. Perhaps the
producers knew they already had our money and couldn't
care less what we did afterwards. I wonder if they
feel the same way about their Hollywood backers.
Someone recently asked me to name the worst movie I've
seen in a theater this year. I had a hard time coming
up with an answer, as I usually come away amused on
some level from every film I see. But now I can say
without a moment's hesitation: "Dude, Where's My Car?"
is the worst movie I have ever seen in a theater. I'm
not amused at all--I'm angry that I spent money to sit
and watch this cinematic embarrassment. And I didn't
even pay for my ticket, a friend did. Perhaps the
lowest criticism I could possibly level would be
calling this movie a waste of a handout.
Filmfodder Grade: F