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  Dude, Where's My Car? And Then?
Year: 2000
Director: Danny Leiner
Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Kristy Swanson, Jennifer Garner, Marla Sokoloff, Hal Sparks, David Herman, Charlie O'Connell, John Toles Bey, Christian Middelthon, Dave Bannick, Turtle, Bob Clendenin, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mitzi Martin, Brent Spiner
Genre: Comedy, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 8 votes)
Review: Two slackers (Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott) wake up one morning with no memory of their wild partying night before. Their roommate Gene greets them as he relieves himself in the potted plant, but the don't think to ask him - it must have been one hell of a time. However, their twin girlfriends leave a message on their answerphone to tell them that they are terrible boyfriends since they trashed their house, and today is their anniversary when they were due to give the chaps a special treat. They have to make it up. But what did they do last night? And what's happened to their car?

Philip Stark wrote this daft, rambling comedy that plays as if it was made up as it went along and became the proud epitome of stupid movies at a time when stoner comedies were making a brief resurgence, after all mostly what audiences thought of when the subgenre was mentioned would be the Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong efforts. Yet around the turn of the millennium we were offered stuff like Pootie Tang and How High that both harked back to those dubious glory days and built on them, taking their cue to be as ridiculous as they possibly could in the name of humour, as if you didn't even need to be intoxicated to appreciate or laugh uproariously at this sort of wacky (baccy) gagfest.

Our heroes meet quite a few eccentric characters on their quest to find their car and the cosmic gadget that everyone else is looking for, a gadget we learn after some Herculean faffing about has the power to destroy the entire universe, therefore in true Bill and Ted style (not that Bill and Ted were stoners, or if they were they kept that side of their lifestyle well concealed) the most unlikely duo imaginable hold the fate of the whole of existence in their hands. Scenes to watch for include the blind kids' outing, the smoking dog and the UFO fans meeting (with the over-enthusiastic electro music). Although it was short, a couple of scenes dragged a little (not like that), with the ostrich farmer sequence cod-French accented Brent Spiner actually took his name off not quite up to the standard of the rest of it.

If there was a criticism against this at the time other than its sheer stupidity, it was its sexism, with the female characters either sex objects or scolds, but that was to ignore the male characters were more or less denigrated from beginning to end, in a very amusing fashion. Jesse is horrified to learn he has smooched with a transsexual, but this potential offence was defused by a later scene when he smooched with Chester to prove how masculine he could be to passing motorist Fabio, building on the homosexual tension between our two heroes that they never quire acknowledge but we can tell they were aware of. No matter how much they desire oral pleasure from the alien "hot chicks", we can also see a desire to hang out with each other, in their underwear if necessary. Perhaps a female stoner comedy was necessary to address the balance?

Director Danny Leiner shot this like a kids' TV show with decidedly non-kids humour, but that pot-smoking backdrop proved surprisingly liberating when it came to dreaming up the preposterous situations and personalities who were never anywhere near as cool as they thought they were, part of the kidding that made up the tone. OK, this was probably more than a guilty pleasure than a cult movie, considering that very few other people actually admit to finding this funny, it became a byword for the lowest common Hollywood denominator, in fact. But I put it to you, ladies and gentlemen, that today's guilty pleasure is tomorrow's cult movie. And the genius of Seann William Scott should not have gone unrecognised, though after this it was American Pie sequels and winning the hearts of Canadians everywhere with the Goon movies, not the comedy superstardom that some would have predicted him to achieve, and dare we say it, possibly deserved? Plus it has a giant woman in it. And bubble wrap. For all I know a Rubik's Cube really does do that when you complete it, I could never get anywhere with the bloody things.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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