18 August 2009

Road Trip: Beer Pong

Road Trip: Beer Pong
starring Preston Jones, Michael Trotter, Nestor Aaron Absera, Danny Pudi, Julianna Guilli
written by Brad Riddell
directed by Steve Rash
dvd release: 11 August 2009
Universal, 95 mins., Unrated

There's Frakking Worse Things

I initially wrote two opening paragraphs that weren’t all that funny with me sarcastically writing that when I popped in Road Trip: Beer Pong, I was expecting a movie of utmost excellence, and the second paragraph would basically lead in with “…it’s not.” Hilarious, no doubt. But honestly, I knew what I was getting into; everyone who picks up a Universal direct-to-DVD title does, especially with one that includes a “2” or “3” at the end of a title. Beer Pong is not cinematic gold, nor is it all around a really good movie, but it’s serviceable, and at the very least, made me laugh every once and a while, basically accomplishing what it set out to due. I was sorta hoping that with the trend of rather good American Pie sequels, that it would sorta rub off on these other DVD franchises, like Bring It On.

It hasn’t, at least not fully.

Nearly a year ago, Universal announced a slate of new direct-to-DVD titles that would be sequels to “hit” movies. On the list included but not limited to Grease 3, Mean Girls 2, The Naked Mile 4, Bring It On 5, Deep Blue Sea 2, American Pie 7, and Road Trip. Universal knows the franchises that will make money, and they completely plan to juice it in the DVD market. I myself am a sucker for the American Pie presents... titles, and I have rented the Bring It On and Asylum Productions, so I'm one of the evil blokes who are helping these relatively no good projects be green lit. Well, the first title of this new wave has been released, with unspectacular results. Here's hiping the next Bring It On with Christina Millian (Pulse) will at least be above average.

While best-friends Korkin (Trotter) and Jake (Absera) enjoy the benefit of bachelorhood in college, Andy (Jones) remains with long-time girlfriend Katy (Guill), who just recently transferred to his college to put an end to that pesky far-distance relationship agitation. Initially troubling Andy, Korkin pleads that he needs to go out more and party, to indulge in temptation with no-string casual sex with all the feisty ladies on campus. It just so happens a short lived relationship in Andy’s past has resurfaced, and is more than ready to rekindle the flame. While on a road trip to participate in a Beer Pong tournament, Andy seeks to meet up with his sexy ex behind Katy’s back and reclaim his “manhood.” As with anytime there’s four teenagers in a car together, hijinks and ‘hilarity’ inevitably ensue.

Direct-to-video movies I judge a little more leniently, knowing before viewing that more likely than not, its sole reason for existence is to yank some poor bloke's cash and rat away their minds with dodgy scripts that don't really matter and footage of a ton of boobies with bad and even dumber sex jokes. So, I rate the movie well if I found it entertaining, if the performances were at least subpar, if I laughed, and if there was at least some apparent effort put forth. 1) Yes, the movie was entertaining, though I found myself not giving a damn about the Beer Pong tournament which is, y'know, supposedly a large component of the movie. 2) The performances...well, eh, read below. 3) I actually DID laugh! Yes, surprised the hell outta me. 4) I haven't seen this lazy of directing since Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

The script doesn't work for the sole reason that Andy just comes off as a douche, conciously making the decision to embark on a road trip just to screw a old passion while his perfectly fine mentally and physically girlfriend is at home wondering what the frak is going on. Doesn't help that most of the side characters aren't worth remembering after the movie's over, either, with the sole exception of Arash, which I'll talk about in a sec below.

Luckily, the cast is all-around likable, with the sole exception of our main character Andy, with Preston Jones not giving one iota of a performance but instead attempting to get by with his ‘charming’ good looks. Trotter as Korkin is only noteworthy because he plays essentially the Stifler role, but never once being likable enough to understand how he scores with a Chastity Girl. In fact, much to my surprise, the best and most hilarious moments come from Danny Pudi, playing the horny Middle Eastern Arash, never failing to elicit at the very least a chuckle with his dialog that must have been improvised by him, since it was way too funny to be in this rather arbitrary script. The only returning cast member from the first installment is DJ Qualls, looking older than ever, playing the function of Tom Green’s character in the first – bad narration with small moments of funny involving a cougar-ish mom and her slutty daughter.

Road Trip: Beer Pong is for the most part enjoyable. It's weighed down by its overall unoriginal plot, jokes, and one-dimensional actors, but the performance of Danny Pudi alone makes this movie at least worth a Netflix rental (gosh no, I would never recommend someone buy this unless it was in the Half Price $3.00 bin). Just, please Universal, try a little harder with the next title.

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