Dude, Where's My Car?
2000, PG-13, 84 min. Directed by Danny Leiner. Starring Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Marla Sokoloff, Jennifer Garner, Kristy Swanson, Ryan Christian, Andy Dick.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 22, 2000
Not since Scott Baio used his wacky telekinetic powers to disrobe a chesty Heather Thomas in the 1982 teen sex comedy Zapped! has there been a film so relentlessly unfunny. Taking a cue from the recent resurgence of teen flicks such as American Pie and Cruel Intentions, Dude manages to take a genuinely funny idea -- stoners Jesse and Chester (Kutcher and Scott) wake up after a wild night and can't remember where they parked their car -- and consistently fails to come up with even one single comic moment. Leiner, who cut his teeth on such generally inspired television work as Felicity and Freaks and Geeks stumbles badly here, directing with a leaden, singularly uninspired hand and turning in a workmanlike, decidedly dull feature. Kutcher's role as Jesse requires only a vague lateral movement from his performance as the dimwitted Kelso on Fox's sporadically funny That 70's Show, and though he's amiable enough as the intellectually challenged wastoid, the script (from That 70's Show story editor Philip Stark) gives him little to do other than mug for the camera and utter the Spicollian slang “shibby.” The same goes for Scott, who fared much, much better in both American Pie and Road Trip. Like buddy Jesse, his Chester is a libidinous wastrel barely able to form or follow a synaptic trail beyond the next bong hit and ample set of bodacious ta-tas. What could have been a dopey trip through a teenage wasteland is instead a painful, wearying slice of pure drivel, so cringe-worthily bad that when Fabio shows up midway through it's the virtual high point of the film. An equally abysmal cameo from NewsRadio's Andy Dick as a bedraggled prisoner of a French ostrich farmer (don't even get me started) fails to inject even a single guffaw into the proceedings. The film moves from unfunny to just plain bizarre with the introduction of a bevy of space babes searching for something called the continuum transfunctioner, which Jesse and Chester may or may not have absconded with in their inebriated state, and a Heaven's Gate-like group who wear space suits made out of plastic bubble wrap. Breasts, it should go without saying, are the focus of the duo's juvenile obsessions, and while they attempt to locate their car and make up with girlfriends Wanda and Wilma (Garner and Sokoloff), Leiner tosses plenty of heaving bosoms their way. Sadly (I suppose), the film's PG-13 rating disallows any substantially titillating sexuality, so we're stuck with the unappealing sight of Kutcher and Scott perpetually licking their wolfish lips over very little indeed. Unlike the aforementioned American Pie and other recent genre pictures aimed at the prized teen demographic, Dude aspires to be little more than what it is: a mildly entertaining romp on the level of the Bill and Ted films. It's a measure of how bad the end result is that Leiner's film makes the Keanu Reeves/Alex Winter pairings seem positively inspired by comparison. Dude, your movie sucks.