If the young lads in last year's American Pie had spent more time studying and less time trying to get laid, they might have appeared in this year's Road Trip, which wants nothing more than to offer a post-secondary update on the lives and loves of Hollywood's favorite target audience: boys who will be boys. Written and directed by Todd Phillips with sub-Farrelly esprit, Road Trip is like Animal House without John Belushi--i.e., House. Not that MTV's Tom Green, as a budding psycho-killer, doesn't spice things up a bit. Chris Elliott trapped in Bob Denver's body, Green goes so far as to stick a live lab rat in his mouth when a python he's attempting to feed refuses to take a bite. Unless you're a member of ASPCA, that's entertainment! And, truth be told, it's only one among many gross-out moments, which are sprinkled through the movie like rat turds. Perhaps the most notorious--included in the trailer, so I'm not giving anything away--is when an order of French toast gets sent back to the chef, who profusely licks the slices of bread and drops them in various parts of his underwear before returning them to the table, new and improved and without the powdered sugar that started it all. The now-satisfied customer is Kyle (DJ Qualls), Road Trip's token nerd, who gets invited along only because he has a car (though not for long). So skinny he barely casts a shadow, Kyle soon winds up in bed with a very large woman who, should he survive, will have made a man out of him.
Among American Pie's charms was the fact that it played fair with its female characters, whose maturity made the male characters seem all the more like boys. Road Trip barely has any female characters, and the ones its does have are glorified sperm banks. Most of the women show their breasts; none of the men show much of anything. Kyle looks smashing in his baggy white underwear, and Green has his nipples pinched by a pair of topless coeds at a beer party. Green keeps trying to give Road Trip something the director forgot to give it: comic abandon. Unrecognizable in a bad wig, Andy Dick has a bit part as a seen-it-all motel clerk, but nothing very funny comes of it. Like everybody else, he's all dressed up with nowhere to go.