"Get the moron out of the pool."
Grind is the quintessential thirteen-year-old boy summer movie. It has no shortage of testosterone-laced dick-and-fart jokes and boobies for everyone. If this sounds unappealing already, read no further. Save yourself some time and go right along to the next review.
Facts of the Case
Eric Rivers (Mike Vogel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003) always dreamed of being a professional skateboarder: he'll get the chicks and the goods from the local skateboarding shops. Then Jimmy Wilson (Jason London, The Rage, Carrie 2) a skateboarding legend, comes to town on a skating tour. Eric and his friends, Dustin (Adam Brody, The O.C.) and Matt (Vince Vieluf, Rat Race), decide that if Jimmy Wilson could JUST see their mean stunts, he would sign them up for his tour immediately. Unfortunately, they are headed off by Jimmy's manager and can't get near him, while their demo tape gets thrown into a pile with a thousand others under his bus. But the guys walk away with a good piece of advice: keep skating, if you are good, you'll get noticed.
Recruiting Sweet Lou (Joey Kern, Cabin Fever)—an older ladies man who prefers the high school girls—and using Dustin's hard earned college savings, the four buy a van, form the Super Duper Skate Team, and follow Jimmy around on tour so they can get noticed. It's only when Eric runs into hot skater chick Jamie (Jennifer Morrison, Urban Legends: Final Cut) that their luck begins to change.
This really wasn't my type of movie. That being said, for what the movie was, it wasn't really that bad. Adam Brody gave a typical Adam Brody performance. (If you have seen any episode of The O.C. you will know what I mean.) He does sarcasm extremely well and did a good job adding some depth to the characters present. Had he not played Dustin, I don't even want to imagine how gross this movie would have turned out. Playing the weird, wild child of the group, Vince Vieluf gave a great performance, doing an excellent job handling all of the physical comedy. If I had to choose the best performance out of the four main characters, it would most likely be his. Mike Vogel's performance, on the other hand, was rather mundane. He brought very little depth to the character and mostly appeared as a whiney teenage boy going ga-ga over the first girl who shows interest in him. Joey Kern was a good choice for Sweet Lou, bringing a wonderful sleaziness to his performance. As far as having a female lead in the movie, Jennifer Morrison had very little screen time. It seems she was here just a pretty face, allowing for a female name to be placed on the posters.
The four main characters do have some good role model characteristics though. Dustin works hard to earn money so he can go to college. Eric is rather persistent in following his dreams, and at the end of the movie, he still remembers where he started out (which is unusual for professional athletes). Vince is able to show a more sensitive side under his craziness. And, as it turns out, there is hope for Sweet Lou becoming a one-woman man.
All in all, the movie did make me laugh out loud at times, even though, there were portions that were EXTREMELY unrealistic. (The circus?!? I'll leave that detail for you to discover on your own.) Some of the humor was a little gross, and all of it relied on testosterone laced dick-and-fart jokes. Oh, there were occasional jokes about women too.
Unfortunately, I don't have much else to say about the movie. If you aren't a fan of the "teen movie" genre, you probably won't like this film. I can't even compare this to most recent teen movies, mainly because I haven't seen any since the mid-90s. (Again, if I am going to watch a teen movie, I would take The Breakfast Club Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles over most of the newer ones any day.)
From a technical perspective, the colors in the film were excellent, extremely bright and varied. The flesh tones were true and the blacks were deep (even if the movie wasn't). For the most part, the shots in the film were well composed and mostly pleasant to look at. (I say mostly here, because once you watch the film, you will realize that there are certain things a twenty-three year old just does not want to see). But, alas, the disc was only presented in full screen, and there doesn't seem to be much of an excuse for any Hollywood movie shot in the past four years or so, not to be presented in wide screen format. While the audio track did not especially appeal to me, it was clear and not once did I need to ask my roommate what was said. Although I don't care for most new music, I will admit to my chagrin, the soundtrack was rather appropriate. Some of those new-fangled rap tunes can definitely give a sound system a decent work out.
In general, the disc was rather lacking in extras, containing only a music video, Too Bad About Your Girl by the Donnas (featuring the characters of Grind), the theatrical trailer, and a commentary by the director and three of the lead actors. The commentary was probably the most amusing part of the film. I absolutely loved listening to the actors and the director making fun of themselves. (Let's all try Grind: The Drinking Game, it could make the movie MUCH more interesting.) The commentary also mentions, in a few places, scenes that were cut out, shortened, or shot differently. If these scenes had been included in the bonus materieals, it would have fleshed out the DVD nicely.
This one is a rental, even if you are a skateboarding fan. According to the DVD commentary, this doesn't even accurately portray skateboarding events. While some of the skating was neat, there was not as much as I would have expected in a movie that was supposedly about skateboarding.
Grind is guilty as charged. Thank God it's over.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Commentary by Director Casey La Scala, Adam Brody, Vince Vieluf, and Joey Kern
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