2001, PG, 92 min. Directed by Eric Hannah. Starring Cassidy Rae, Derek Hamilton, A.j. Buckley, Ryan Browning, Dante Basco.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001
Extreme sports -- skate and snow boarding, surfing, paintball intifadas and the like -- have rarely been as markedly unexciting as they are in this road trip through mediocrity which takes a slight detour into God's country thanks to the fine folks at Providence Entertainment (who also distributed TBN's The Omega Code). Some sort of divine retribution is in order here -- bong hits for all involved, maybe. Frankly, ESPN2 has nothing to fear. N'Sync, perhaps, but that cable network's random-yet-entertaining coverage of gladiatorial dirt-biking puts the lie to director Eric Hannah's unforgivably tedious tale of four fresh-faced young corporate drones-to-be who embark on one last, crazy summer in the wake of their graduation from a small-town California community college. Predictably, there's the ladies' man Bryan (Browning); Corey the Asian-American (Basco), smart guy Will (Buckley), and wild man Matt (Hamilton). Not only is he crazy, this Matt, but he's plainly infatuated with Christian “Hellion” Glover, aping that lovable indie madman's bizarrely halting speech patterns and quirky facial tics to a T. (And you thought Bam Margera was a loose cannon.) Setting out in their “Joyota” (half Jeep, half Toyota, all fun!), this quartet of guys tools down to the Mexican Baja for some X-treme surfing, all of which is captured in grainy 16mm from a long way off. Far out, dudes -- but don't get the camera housing wet! It's here that they also prove their manhood with a zany Tabasco-chugging contest. (I suppose Tijuana donkey shows were out of the question.) When word arrives that Corey's beloved grandfather has died, the group change their plans and head back up to Yakima, Washington, to grieve and pick up Corey's inheritance. Along the way they team up with leggy blonde pal Jessie, an old friend of Matt's, and -- how should I put this? -- hilarity and life lessons ensue. Foremost among those lessons appears to be “never let a good action sequence stand in the way of a lousy story.” It's easy (and fun) to imagine the old SoCal Bones Brigade and Dogtown skate rat crews sitting down to watch Extreme Days and having a field day with it a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. If it weren't so gosh-darn earnest in its intentions and fluffy in its outlook, there might have been a tolerable film here, but as it stands (or topples, flailing curbward), the film is one long travelogue o' boredom. All of this is, of course, layered over with a thick, well-nigh impenetrable crusting of sub-Incubus musical wallpaper with titles like “Entertaining Angels,” “Heartbeat,” and “Corey and Bryan (Are in Love but Don't Tell Anyone, Okay?).” Sure, I made that last one up, but to deny the vague homoeroticism on sale here is to deny the joy of subverting a very crappy movie. You want to see a real “extreme” movie? Go search out skater guru Stacy Peralta's excellent and enormously entertaining doc Dogtown and Z-Boys (narrated by Jeff Spicoli himself, Mr. Sean Penn). In the meantime, steer clear of this very un-X-treme offal.