Paramount // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 19th, 2009
Three guys. One chance. No plan.
A sequel I'm pretty sure no one asked for to a movie no one remembers lands on DVD with a sum total of 2.5 laughs.
Two best friends (Oliver James and Kristopher Turner) decide to go on the adventure of a lifetime when a one of their high school crushes gets lost in the forest. Turns out, the MIA's grandmother is on her death bed and she wants to see her granddaughter before shuffling loose the mortal coil. With the help of a talkative British dart champion (Rik Young), our three heroes grab an inflatable raft and head into the woods. Little do they know, a couple of enforcers are tracking them for some convoluted reason that has to do with an inheritance and a bookie debt, but who cares -- look, it's a computer animated squirrel and he's ill-tempered!!!
Here are some things that are funnier than Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling:
1. Testicular cancer.
2. A runaway moving van crashing into a nursing home.
3. The War of 1812.
4. Two chickens staring at each other.
5. The GDP of Norway written in crayon.
6. A large man with a top hat juggling knives.
7. A car fire.
8. Your company's receptionist out sick for a month with walking pneumonia.
9. My Uncle Sam poster that says "Uncle Sam Wants to Kick Ass."
10. The pre-Cambrian period.
11. A malfunctioning Roomba.
12. The jet-ski level in Battletoads
13. Unfinished furniture.
15. My pants.
16. The sub-title "Nature's Calling."
17. Poorly made sock puppets swearing in Farsi.
18. McGovern's second debate performance.
19. Hand soap.
20. Any Saved by the Bell episode featuring Kevin the Robot.
Lacking anything even remotely resembling a workable joke, Nature's Calling burns through its nonsensical storyline with the energy of a depleted car battery. In fact, as the film moves forward, it makes less and less sense. At first, we're looking at a garden variety buddy picture: our three pals go to a scary backwoods bar, get made fun of by rustic loggers, take their raft over some rapids and down a waterfall, hunt fish with darts and, yes, get into a violent confrontation with a poorly animated squirrel. Once the guys find the girls living in a tree house is when things get really strange. For the final 40 minutes or so of the film, the movie features a falling-out between the friends over a girl, a bizarre and unending dialogue exchange with Al Gore's African-American brother about global warming and squirrel flatulence (that description is a lot funnier than the actual scene), some gunfire, more stultifying dialogue and, the comedy centerpiece of the film: a loose plank in the tree house that hits three men in their genitals. Too bad, because the leads were charismatic and given material that could have at least flirted with the outskirts of amusement might have yielded a viable comedy, instead of the limp, poorly-plotted, irritating enviro-@#$%-up it ended up being.
The DVD: 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 surround (both of which are winners) and three forgettable featurettes on the making-of, the tree house location, and a former Mad TV cast member talking about squirrels or something. Deleted scenes and a gag reel round out the offering.
The movie isn't even in the hemisphere of funny. Avoid it like a rabid CGI squirrel.
Guilty. Someone send the game warden over to euthanize this sucker
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13