Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy
Paramount Famous Productions || PG13 - 90 minutes - $36.99 || January 13, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-01-08


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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 TrueHD)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

"We are going down... and not in the good way!"

You know how we have all those National Lampoon movies that have nothing to do with the first film? Simply a banner that is thrown onto any comedy in hopes of additional sales? Well, Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling follows the same formula. Not a single mention to the first film at or the characters. Itís a direct to video release that simply used the "Without a Paddle" banner (why?) in hopes of getting some attention on retail shelves.

Ben (James) and Zach (Turner) are lifelong friends ready for their first day of high school. As they arrive, we get to see that Ben appears to be the smart one while Zach is more of the screw up. Ben soon falls for the hot blond Heather (Riley) after he signs her petition to stop dissections on animals in class and the next day we find out Heather has been expelled and Ben goes through life holding a flame for her all while we get some incredibly cheesy montage of how close to two boys are. Flash forward a decade and we see Ben is now a lawyer and Zach a nurse at the local retirement center. When a dying patient offers Zach a chance to make money (to track down her granddaughter) he instantly accepts when he learns the missing girl is Heather - Ben's high school crush.

Hoping this will provide some serious male bonding between the two, Zach persuades Ben to join him in this "mancation" (there words, not mine) as they travel to Oregon to track her down. Also joining them is Nigel (Young), Heathers step-brother who is up to no good. From there, the plot gets a bit ridiculous as we find out Heather has turned into a tree-loving hippy that goes by the name of Earth Child. Ben, Zach and Nigel set out to find her... only the find themselves in one lame adventure.

As you may have noticed on the cover, there is a squirrel holding two nuts (get it?!?)...and that is never actually shown in the film. While there are plenty of squirrels (poorly animated might I add), none hold the famous nuts as the cover depicts. Instead, we get them growling, yelling "charge", fist pounding each other, and using knives...yes, knives. Even though the film is direct to video, why the need to throw in such cartoony creatures that make the film seem even cheesier then it should be? Don't get me started on the CGI humming bird either.

Just skip this film. It only produced a few chuckles out of me and most of the plot was just a complete mess. Dialog was poor and the characters seemed to act a bit to excited to be going on this little "mancation". This film deserves to be ignored...I won't even mention the Hal Gore skit at the end... ugh.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Deleted Scenes (SD) - A total of four scenes were cut...and these are better left alone. They are really bad.

Featurettes (all HD):

Treehouse Tales, Furious Nuts and Making of Without a Paddle: Natureís Calling - Oh boy. If you really liked the film that here are three fluffy featurettes for you. The first gives us a glimpse to how the Treehouse depicted in the film was created followed up by a look at those zany squirrels (give me a break). The final featurette is your standard "insert name was so awesome to work with".

Also included are a Gag Reel (SD) and Digital Copy (not compatible with iPods/Zunes/PSPs...)



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling is presented in 1.85:1 (AVC/MPEG-4) on a 25GB Disc. Quality is surprisingly nice - colors are very vibrant and blacks dark. Flesh tones appeared to be a bit too bright, but other than that itís a decent transfer for a Direct to video release.

Paramount has included an English TrueHD track for this release. Dialog is crisp, and since this is a comedy its welcome news. Rears are fairly inactive most of them - save for the few music numbers and sounds around the forest.



.::OVERALL::.

Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling is a bad film and why Paramount chose to bring this instead of the first film is beyond me. Special Features are present... but only fans of the film will even want to sit through them. Skip this.