Fox // 2001 // 83 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // August 20th, 2008
After a night they can't remember comes a day they'll never forget.
Jesse (Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas) and Chester (Sean William Scott, The Rundown) are two stoners. Like most stoners, they are lazy and easy-going. They're supposed to meet their girlfriends and give them presents, but something has gone wrong. The presents were in Jesse's car, and Jesse's car has gone missing. Dude, where's his car? Jesse and Chester think it might have been stolen, but they can't be sure. They can't remember anything from the night before. As their investigation progresses, they discover that their lives have been quite colorful. Strippers, money, aliens, and criminals start to enter the picture. Chester and Jesse had better try to remember what they did the night before, or things could get really messy.
Fact #1: Dude, Where's My Car? is an incredibly dumb film.
Fact #2: Dude, Where's My Car? is an intentionally dumb film.
Fact #3: It doesn't really matter whether it's intentionally dumb or not.
Fact #4: The film's biggest fans may have already forgotten which movie I'm talking about.
The concept here is so absurdly silly that it's almost funny. Two guys have been so horribly affected by drugs that they have no idea that their lives are incredibly colorful and interesting. Nonetheless, the film isn't particularly original. In tone, this film seems to be a hybrid of Dumb and Dumber and Wayne's World. In plot, Dude, Where's My Car? borrows an idea originated in The Big Lebowski, having a stoner (or in this case, two stoners) wander through a story that would be best suited to the likes of Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade. The thing that makes this film unique among all those titles is that it isn't really worth watching.
There's a new gag every couple of minutes, but most of the gags in Dude, Where's My Car? fall flat. There's a lot of comic potential in the movie; it's a shame that so much of it is wasted. A wide variety of situations are presented that seem rich with amusing possibilities, but the movie almost always goes for the most predictable and least interesting punch line. It just aims as low as possible too often. There's a scene in which the two guys walk past a sign that says "trespassers will be castrated." Below that ominous statement, the phrase "balls cut off" appears. I can only assume that Dude, Where's My Car is being marketed to a group of people who don't know what "castrated" means. The movie is more or less designed to be viewed while high, which will undoubtedly make the jokes seem infinitely funnier than they actually are. If you see the film without the aid of some illegal substance, you will be disappointed. I did not enhance my viewing experience with illegal substances. I was disappointed.
The film stars two actors that I've always found particularly uninteresting, Ashton Kutcher and Sean William Scott. Both play up their obnoxious frat boy persona to the hilt here. I realize that these two have fans who find the personalities of Kutcher and Scott quite endearing, but I am not one of them. I would much rather be spending 83 wacky minutes with Wayne and Garth than with these guys. The use of not-so-catchy catchphrases like "Shibby!" attempting to replace "Schwing!" only adds to this feeling. Chester and Jesse are even lacking the basic charming qualities of the stars of director Danny Leiner's subsequent film, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
The hi-def transfer is reasonably good, but it doesn't really matter all that much in a film like this. This is a visually simple movie that never attempts anything that would be greatly enhanced by the Blu-ray format. Still, I guess this is the way to go if you're a fan of the film. Sound is effective, with David Kitay's agreeably goofy score blending nicely with dialogue and sound effects. There are no extras on the disc other than a theatrical trailer.
Though most of the movie is pretty tiresome, there are a small handful of sequences that actually made me laugh. One involves the two guys unsuccessfully attempting to order food in a restaurant drive-thru. Another scene involves an unsuccessful attempt to have a discussion about tattoos. Of course, the humor of these moments is somewhat diluted when the film starts repeating them during the third act. I also kind of enjoyed the cheesiness of the film's finale, which takes a wild trip into the world of science-fiction and gives our heroes an opportunity to save the entire universe. Finally, the performances of Jennifer Garner and Kristy Swanson are surprisingly fun. These characters are written as nothing more than obligatory girlfriends for Chester and Jesse, but Garner and Swanson have fine comic timing together.
Dude, Where's My Car? isn't really as irritating as you would expect a movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Sean William Scott to be, but it's still one of the more uninteresting stoner movies of recent years. I'd recommend giving this one a pass. If you are forced to watch it, take comfort in the fact that it's only 83 minutes and there are a few small chuckles along the way.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13