Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling (2009)

Genre(s): Adventure / Comedy
Paramount Famous Productions || PG13 - 90 minutes - $29.98 || January 13, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-01-02


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Ellory Elkayem
Writer(s): Fred Wolf and Harris Goldberg & Tom Nursall (story), Jay Leggett & Mitch Rouse and Stephen Mazur (screenplay)
Cast: Oliver James, Kristopher Turner, Rik Young, Jerry Rice


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Well, now that apparently Universal is no longer doing those lame American Pie direct-to-DVD crapfests, Paramount, under their new “Paramount Famous Productions” line, is getting into the DTV business. For some odd reason, they chose this one as their first venture named, Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling (which from hereon will be called WAP2).

WAP2 shares little in common with its 2004 predecessor (starring Seth Green, Dax Shepard and Matthew Lillard) except three guys on a journey that includes rafting down a river with deep forests surrounding them.

Ben (Oliver James) and Zach (Kristopher Turner) were best buds throughout high school but with each passing year, they grew apart. Zach works at a nursing home and receives a request from a dying grandmother: to find her granddaughter before she dies. Problem is, this granddaughter has been missing (her own free will) and she hasn’t been seen in a long time. Zach reluctantly accepts and when he discovers this granddaughter, Heather (Madison Riley), is Ben’s high school crush – before she got expelled for protesting the dissection of rats. So he convinces Ben to get away from work and go to Oregon — which is one of the few connecting strains with the original — to find his long lost love.

On this journey is Heather’s step-brother, an obnoxious Brit (not because he’s British) named Nigel (Rik Young) and the trio set off to find Heather. Of course, there’s something more sinister going on as they are being tracked by a couple thugs and with the legend of some beast in the woods, things may not be safe for them!

I could go on about a cameo by NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice as Hal Gore, researching the effect of squirrel farts on the environment or the discovery of Heather who is now a crazy tree hugger (the only authentic thing in this movie as Oregon is filled with ‘em... trust me). In any case, as you might guess hijinks and hilarity ensue for 90-minutes.

WAP2 isn’t funny, and frankly it’s the worst kind of comedy: the boring kind. The original may have been crude in some ways, but for heaven’s sakes, it was actually humorous and enjoyable, but mainly due to the perfect cast rather than the screenplay. While I didn’t have much of a problem with any of the actors, aside from the fact they weren’t funny, but they had absolutely zero charisma. But what’s even more shameful about this “SINO” (Sequel In Name Only) isn’t the lack of humor or a stupid plot, but it’s needless clutter both on the poor sole who actually buys it, but in those Wal-Mart $5 bargain bins.

No doubt about it, this is a bad movie. Not bad in a fun, mocking, spend a Friday night “MST3k”-ing it kind of way, just plain bad. Now, I plead to you, the reader, run away from this as fast as you can, rent the original if you must, but don’t even bother picking up the case to read the back. If that awful Photo-shopped front cover doesn’t steer you away, I don’t know what will...



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

I guess better than nothing, the DVD includes three featurettes: Up The Creek: The Making of Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling (10:30), a dumb spoof featurette called Furious Nuts (6:58) and Treehouse Tales (3:18); a few “hilarious” deleted scenes (1:08) and a ho-hum gag reel (5:26).

There is also a digital copy (thankfully not compatible with iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, Sony PSP or Microsoft Zune) and a set of previews including, *sigh*, Van Wilder: Freshman Year.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

WAP2 comes to DVD in anamorphic widescreen (1.78 AR). The picture is suitable enough, but don’t go in expecting a blast of clarity or an abundance of amazing colors either.

A Dolby Digital 5.1 track makes up the audio for this release. Lots of “zany” and “crazy” scoring from Thomas Chase Jones ("Scooby Doo" DTV movies/show) makes use of the track while the dialogue is pretty clear.



.::OVERALL::.

WAP2 is certainly not one of the worst movies I’ve seen, even in the last year or so, but it is the worst kind of comedies: boring. When the viewer yawns while watching a movie (and not for the lack of sleep), you have a problem. The cast is bland and the story is beyond ridiculous even for a DTV flick. Skip at all cost. If you don’t already, you can buy the original cheap, do that instead.