"Grind" (IMDb listing) is a teen comedy which sets out to milk a little of the current
skateboarding fad sweeping across the globe. It offers nothing new, and will
only appeal to those predestined to suckle anything that comes from the
half-pipe teat. These types of cheap, cash-in productions come along every ten
years or so. In the 80s, it was "Thrashin'" or "Gleaming The Cube." In the 90s,
there was "Airborne." "Grind" opens on a poster of skateboarding legend Tony
Alva in a perfect mid-move pose but, I can assure you, there's nothing
resembling that tone of respect in the remaining 105 minutes.
The story is loosely based around the exploits of four buddies, Eric (Mike
Vogel), Matt (Vince Vieluf, so good in "Rat Race"), Sweet Lou (Joey Kern,
ripping off Matthew McConaughey's character from "Dazed And Confused"), and
Dustin (Adam Brody, "Gilmore Girls," and the only one in the cast with any
talent), who decide to head out into the great unknown, chasing their dream of
becoming pro skateboarders. Along the way, they find themselves in all sorts of
shenanigans and, although this puppy will soon be found in the "comedy" section
at your local Blockbuster, I can't say I remember laughing even once. "Grind" is
a dog. It's a ruthlessly unpleasant picture that would be a lot worse had it
been just a little bit offensive. It's tough to be angry at this harmless mess,
since even when it was being made, I'm sure there were little to no allusions to
the quality of the script. Yet the film is relentless in its pursuit of being
completely humorless (or interesting for that matter). All the film has going
for it are the skateboarding sequences, and even they don't add much excitement.
Directed by newbie Casey La Scala, "Grind" isn't an ideal calling card for the
directing medium, especially when you fill your film with feces gags and
encourage actor Vince Vieluf to be as aggressively obnoxious as humanly
To soften the blow, La Scala has somehow coaxed a handful of B and C-list
celebrities to make cameos to keep the audience interested. Bobcat Goldthwait,
Dave Foley (who seems really proud be in the film, with his hat pulled down to
his eyebrows and sunglasses seemingly welded on), Brian Posehn, Kane Hodder,
Christopher McDonald, Tom Green, Randy Quaid (the one cameo who actually
accepted major billing), some skateboarding heroes, and "Jackass" alums Bam
Margera, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, and Jason "Wee Man" Acuna. If that
doesn't thrill ya, La Scala has made sure to pack the film with enough cleavage
to make even Elvira blush. And if that still doesn't keep attention on the
screen, there are a handful of crappy rock tunes (save for one by The Donnas) on
the soundtrack played at top volume. In fact, La Scala repeats P.O.D.'s "Boom"
three times in a row for the climactic showdown. Classy.
Striving for street cred, I'm positive even skaters will turn their noses up at
this. "Grind's" only chance for success will be from desperate children trying
to sneak into "Freddy vs. Jason" this weekend, and buying a ticket for "Grind"
to do it.
Filmfodder Grade: D-