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Road Trip is a mostly agreeable, by-the-numbers teen flick with a handful of inspired sequences, most of them involving MTV's resident disturbed soul, Tom Green. It concerns a sleepy University of Ithaca student named Josh (Breckin Meyer) who accidentally mails a video of his sexual encounter with an infatuation (Amy Smart) to his longtime girlfriend (Rachel Blanchard), who's seemingly avoiding him while at school in Austin, Texas. Naturally, he recruits some buddies--Seann William Scott as the lech, D.J. Qualls as the hopeless nerd, and Paulo Costanzo as the doper genius--to hit the open highway and intercept the package. Even more naturally, mayhem ensues: A car explodes, a bus is stolen, a nerd is deflowered, French toast is horribly violated, and an elderly man bogarts both pot and Viagra.
The film's humor is more democratic than politically correct, as everyone--women and minority characters, not just the hipster white guys--have a hand in the high jinks. Green plays Barry Manilow (no, not that one), a professional student (eight years and counting)--he relates the film's story to skeptical prospective students while leading them on a tour of the college--and thrill-seeking dork extraordinaire. In particular, in an already justly famous sequence of scenes, he sadistically anticipates and endeavors to accelerate a mouse's demise at the jaws of a python. It's very much in the vein of American Pie, perhaps a smidgen tamer, but at least its characters don't really learn any dopey lessons in the end. Director and coscreenwriter Todd Phillips, who earlier made the much-questioned documentary Frat House, again proves he's more adept at staging fictional comic sequences than real ones. --David Kronke
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