Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Dude, Where's My Car?" Makes Dumb Funnier Than it Should Be

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 66 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)
Running time: 83 minutes (1 hour, 23 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for language and some sex and drug-related humor
DIRECTOR: Danny Leiner
WRITER: Philip Stark
PRODUCERS: Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Gil Netter, and Wayne Rice
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Stevens (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Kimberly Ray


Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Garner, Marla Sokoloff, Kristy Swanson, David Herman, John Toles-Bey, and Hal Sparks

I planned never to see Dude, Where’s My Car?, figuring my initial curiosity to be a sign of intellectual weakness. After seeing Seann William Scott in Bulletproof Monk and really digging his performance, my intellect further weakened, I decided to seek out some of his other films and came across Dude, Where's My Car? again. Scott co-stars in this outlandish comedy with Ashton Kutcher, who came to prominence in the television series “That 70’s Show.” Whatta you know: this turned out to be one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.

Jessie Richmond (Kutcher) and Chester Greenburg (Scott) wake up one morning to find Jessie’s car missing, and they have no memory of what happened the night before except for the wild and crazy things people tell them that they did. At first, Jessie and Chester are excited and proud of the calamity and craziness they allegedly committed, but in time they come to be frustrated that they got so wasted that they can’t remember anything. And they need their memory to find the car, which is the key to a lot of weird trouble for them. They owe a transvestite strip dancer a suitcase full of cash, and people claiming to be aliens are looking for an important, universe-endangering object. Losing the car was just the beginning; you have to see the film to believe how hilarious the adventure to find the car gets.

I’m sure this film was cynically conceived and produced to cash in on the youth movie craze. Film studios figure that if they make movies starring familiar young faces from TV and pad the story with jokes about sex, bodily fluids and functions, teenage jargon, twentysomething slang, and general crassness, they’re bound to make a mint, if not in theatres then in home video and television. It’s a can’t-lose option: marrying the lowbrow, the dumb, the rude, and a bit of cultural decay.

This time the studio got lucky and the movie turned out way funny. I’d rather believe that this was a happy accident, but regardless this is funny, in the vein of Dumb and Dumber, accept that Jessie and Chester, for all their dimwittedness, tend to be a little smarter than their adversaries. You can root for these guys, by awed by their occasional show of smarts, laugh at them, and with them. Dude, Where’s My Car? comes close to being the perfect dumb-but-funny movie. Don’t take it seriously, and you’ll laugh your proverbial ass off. Don’t be stuck in the mud; see it and laugh like a madman.

7 of 10

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