Our review of Dude, Where's My Car? (Blu-Ray), published August 20th, 2008, is also available.
The name says it all.
Dude, Where's My Car? has one of the best posters ever made for a film. Who can forget the flabbergasted faces of Ashton Kutcher (star of "That '70s Show") and Seann William Scott (American Pie, Evolution), pondering where their automobile was? I remember seeing this poster and thinking, "That looks like the stupidest movie on earth. I must to see it!" Over the 2000 Christmas holiday season I did just that, slapping down my eight bucks to sit and watch two guys make Bill and Ted look like Ukrainian brain surgeons. A fully stocked Dude, Where's My Car? drives on up on DVD from Fox.
Facts of the Case
Jesse (Kutcher) and Chester (Scott) are more than just slackers. They're super-slackers. One morning our brain dead heroes wake up with some major bed-head, confused about what they did the night before. Their only clues include a lifetime supply of pudding stocked in their cupboards and fridge, and Jesse's missing car. In-between these small realizations, the boys watch the Discovery Channel, try to figure out what they're going to do for their anniversary with their twin girlfriends, and thumb wrestle while wearing army helmets.
If this all sounds strange, just wait until you see the movie.
Jesse and Chester set off to figure out what exactly happened last night, and find Jesse's car. I'd go into more detail, but that would ruin the fun of Dude, Where's My Car?. All I will say is that our lovable lunk-heads experience not only a pot smoking dog, but also space aliens, a group of bubble-wrap jacket wearing nerds and their leader Zoltan (Hal Sparks), a transvestite stripper, a continuum transfunctioner, a mentor who speaks like Yoda, and Kristy Swanson.
And that's officially the strangest paragraph I've ever written.
Even though Dude, Where's My Car? was ripped apart by critics, it was still somewhat of a hit in theaters. Why? Because critics didn't get that this was the "grand poobah" of strange, wacky entertainment. Dude, Where's My Car? plays like it could have been directed by John Waters (except with a bit more taste). It has such a random quality about it that it's a marvel to view, a strange mix of a terrible highway accident and Andy Warhol.
Dude, Where's My Car? is essentially a one joke film, but I'll be darned if I kept laughing all the way through (especially upon second viewing). Everyone involved seems to have realized exactly what they were making, so no performance tries to step outside the box that this film exists in.
Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott are an absolute riot as Jesse and Chester, respectively. Both guys are two of the funniest actors in their age group working today. Kutcher is very apt on "That '70s Show," and smartly doesn't deviate from his dimwitted delivery for Dude, Where's My Car?. He often giggles like a Catholic school girl, yukking it up whenever he gets to touch a woman's breasts or figures out some nominally small piece of their puzzled night before. Seann William Scott is even funnier, his face always twisting into a "Yeah, I know what you're talking about" grin, even though it's obvious he wouldn't know the difference between a burrito and a taco if you shoved them up his nose. Scott has his delivery down to a science (as he did in American Pie), and uses it to the character's full advantage. As a side note, he sort of looks like Jack Nicholson and Katharine Hepburn's love child.
The rest of the cast is equally as funny, if not even more bizarre than Jesse and Chester. This is not the type of film that reaches for deep characterization, so everyone is as one-dimensional as Al Gore. Kristy Swanson (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) plays sexpot Christie Boner ("Boner," get it?), Hal Sparks (from Showtimes's "Queer as Folk") is Zoltan, leader of a very strange group of geeks, and Charlie O'Connell (Jerry's brother) is a bully who…well, who looks exactly like his brother. Andy Dick even pops up in a very strange role. Then again, when has Andy Dick ever not been in a strange role?
The script by Phillip Stark was apparently written during his long stint in a little place I like to call "insanity." I have no other explanation on how a person could come up with all the strange plot twists and characters that populate Dude, Where's My Car?. The main characters often spout out one liners and catchphrases that are meant to be the bulk of the laughs. "Dude," "sweet," and "shibby" pop up like Regis Philbin on David Letterman.
It may be that I am over-analyzing Dude, Where's My Car?. At its core this is just a silly teen comedy that's there to make you smile. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is, which is pure entertainment. It's funny, it's goofy, it's more lightweight then a rice cake. That, and the fact it's got a puppy high on some reefer.
Dude, Where's My Car? is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture looks great, with vibrant and bright colors. Blacks were solid, with only a hint of gray in one scene. Grain and dirt were nearly non-present, and fading or muting was absent. I did not notice any compression, though I did spot a small amount of edge enhancement. Even with its minor flaws, Dude, Where's My Car? is a very good transfer by Fox.
Audio includes both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround. The Dolby 5.1 mix is very good, utilizing rear and front speakers with mostly music. There are a number of effects, though this is not an effects driven film. The dialogue was crisp and clear, with music and effects mixed well. Also included are some English and Spanish subtitles.
Dude, Dude, Where's My Car? includes some sweeeeet features! First off are seven extended scenes. These consist of scenes that have small edits in them, either a few words of dialogue or a joke that was eventually cut from the final film. The funniest of the gags is entitled "Spit or Swallow?," and I'll let your dirty mind take over from there.
The audio commentary is one of the funniest I have ever heard. Director Danny Leiner and stars Kutcher and Scott are exactly like the characters in the film. They use the word "dude" more than the movie did. The track sounds like they were all frat buddies who have never stopped partying (and I suspect there was more than one alcoholic beverage present at the taping). To give you an idea of what this track is like, here are some things they discuss: How bummed the boys were that one sexy actress had a boyfriend and wouldn't shag with them during the shoot, if "blowjob" is a funny word or not, how fun it is to scream "Rodney King" when being attacked by actors portraying policemen, and how every good movie needs a "Canadian" joke. This disc is worth picking up just to hear this very weird and entertaining commentary track. Shibby!
The featurette is a short look at the making of the film, including interviews with the cast, as well as some behind the scenes shots. How exciting is this featurette? It includes a "Dude Cam," where Ashton Kutcher follows folks from the film around, including into their make-up chairs. He is also accosted by an ostrich. Yes, it's just as weird as the film it documents.
Next up is the music video by Grand Theft Audio titled "Stoopid Ass." The video is featured in non-anamorphic widescreen and includes scenes from the film, as well as a very hip, young band playing instruments very loudly. I'd consider this my least favorite feature on the disc.
Finally there are some theatrical trailers and TV spots for your viewing pleasure. Some are in non-anamorphic widescreen, while others are in full frame. Also included is a music promo spot for the soundtrack to Dude, Where's My Car?.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Dude, Where's My Car? is not going to please everyone. The jokes are juvenile and childish. This will never be mistaken for highbrow comedy. The fact is, this won't even be mistaken for an Adam Sandler film. It's stoopid with a kapital "S." Those of you who thought Ernest movies were the spawn of Satan will absolutely hate Dude, Where's My Car?. You really have to be in a certain mindset to watch this film. If you're looking for something much more artsy and intelligent, such as Spies Like Us, I'd steer clear of Dude, Where's My Car? forever.
Fox brings Dude, Where's My Car? to DVD in a very nicely packed disc. The transfer is very good, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very well done, and the extras make for some fun viewing after you've watched the adventures of Chester and Jesse. For around 20 bucks or so, you'll do best to rent it first, than make a decision if you want to buy this little comedy of errors…upon errors, upon errors, upon errors.
Dude, Where's My Car? is free to go, though I'm not too sure how safe our streets are with it running around. Case dismissed, dude!
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