So, Road Trip is not funny. I thought it was funny the first and last time I saw it, which had to have been around when the movie came out, which would have put me in middle school. And that sort of makes sense because this is another good example of a film made by and with adults that seem to squarely focused on a middle school (and male) audience.
I didn’t think Tom Green was funny in 2000 and I don’t think he’s funny now. I couldn’t wait until people stopped caring about him because he was so annoying. Luckily, that did eventually happen and I pretty much never thought about him again until we watched this. I’m not one to say that comedy has to be smart to be funny, or that comedy has to be anything to be funny, but for me at least, Tom Green’s humor is just too gross and stupid. Unsurprisingly, Tom Green didn’t modify his style at all for Road Trip, because he didn’t have to.
So, here’s the premise. Josh (Breckin Meyer) is in college in New York and has a long-time girlfriend, Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard) in college in Austin (curiously, she goes to the University of Austin, not Texas, I guess UT didn’t want to be involved?). Josh and Tiffany maintain their relationship by talking on the phone everyday and sending each other videotapes of themselves talking. After three days of being unable to reach Tiffany, Josh determines that they have broken up despite being best friends/dating since they were 5, and therefore has sex with Beth (Amy Smart). The next day, Josh feels great about himself until he gets a voicemail from Tiffany, apparently one of a few, to tell him that her grandfather died and she’s been out of town at the funeral and unable to get in touch with him. Now Josh feels bad when he realizes not that he’s a total piece of shit, but that his longtime girlfriend didn’t dump him out of nowhere. Around the same time, Josh’s friends beg to see the sex tape that he and Beth made because, yes, they made a sex tape. When they put the tape in and see it’s instead Josh talking the camera, he finally puts two and two together that the sex tape was mailed to Tiffany and he has like 48 hours to get it back before she gets home from the funeral. Josh claims a plane ticket from New York to Austin is too expensive, so he decides to drive instead because that definitely makes sense. Making even more sense, Josh does not have a car, so he and his friends Rubin (Paulo Costanzo) and E.L. (Seann William Scott) hit up their acquaintance, Kyle (DJ Qualls), for his car and the four of them set out on the 1,700+ mile car ride.
The road trip itself is full the of the genre standard: their car gets totaled purely from their own stupidity, they run out of money, they make lots of sex jokes. But things get straight up weird when the guys show up at an all-black fraternity along the way. Rubin somehow knows the secret handshake for the fraternity (Was he part of the Ithaca chapter? Was he full of shit? Either they didn’t explain it or I missed it completely), granting the guys access to the fraternity to crash for the night. When they walk into the dining room and see that there’s only black guys there, they immediately start acting like weird, sheltered children who have never seen a non-white person before. They’re nervous and scared, despite the fact that the frat guys are just acting like normal frat guys. Then there’s a joke that I couldn’t even believe. Rubin (I think, maybe it was one of the other guys) says, after they’ve all sat down with their food, “The food here’s not bad, actually.” First of all: actually? Because they’re black, these guys expect the frat’s food to be gross? What? But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is his friends’ reactions to that statement: they slowly turn to him and look at him with both disgust and betrayal. The look they give him would make you think they’re in a frat of cannibals, not just regular black guys. Are these guys that racist and immature? Well, yes, apparently.
The only real funny part of the whole movie is a goofy subplot with Beth. After the guys leave, Beth goes to Josh’s room and discovers Tom Green there instead. He tells her Josh went to visit his girlfriend who goes to college in Austin, Massachusetts. Beth keeps asking him to repeat himself until finally she says, “Boston?” and he agrees. So Beth takes a bus to the University of Boston, finds another student with the same name as Tiffany’s, and accidentally ruins her life by telling this Tiffany that her boyfriend has cheated on her. It’s not the best or funniest subplot, but it’s certainly the best this movie has to offer.
This movie used to make me cry with laughter whenever it came up. I don’t know what happened to that movie but that is not what we watched. I suppose that means I’ve matured, though, and I’m thankful for that but geeze, Tom Green is pretty unbearable in this movie. I think the best part was the unnecessary nudity but even that couldn’t make me watch this again.
On a sidenote though I recently watched Snowpiercer and holy fuck it was fantastic! There are a few aspects of the film I don’t think really worked but all the greatness immediately made me not care about that stuff. Have you ever watched the train episode of Adventure Time? It’s kind of an adult version of that. WATCH IT NOW, NOT ROAD TRIP!