Dude, Where's My Car?
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Dude, Where's My Car?

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There is nothing new with a comedy based on a person under the influence of some form of intoxicating substance. Now we the so called stoner flicks that usually have as the protagonists young people who have imbibed in alcohol and various psychotropic substances and numerous pharmaceutical agents. A lot of people put these flicks down but just remember your parents and grandparents all laughed at W.C. Fields portraying a man deeply in his cups. For the modern stoner comedy flicks there are certain required elements. One is the flick is typically silly. It doesn’t have to make a whole lot of sense since the target audience is comprised mostly of high school and college aged guys. Usually these fellows are as much under the influence as the characters in the movie. The particular flick under consideration here is ‘Dude Where’s My Car’. It is basically about two friends who get high and lose their car. As they try to retrace their steps from their partying they did the previous night they encounter many strange situations. These bizarre circumstances include a transgender stripper, a drive through speaker box with an attitude and some cultists just to mention a few. If this is not strange enough they pair of lamentable stoners also cross paths with a group of extraterrestrials in the form of beautiful women. Okay, you don’t have to be on something to watch the movie but as some would say; it wouldn’t hurt. Since it would be wrong to advocate the use of illegal substances under any circumstances let’s just say that this is a candidate for a beer and pizza night with the guys. Do yourself a favor and do not try to make your wife or girlfriends sit through this with you. This is a guys flick and let’s leave it at that. Okay the film borders on the stupid but it does have its moments and will, if you are in the right frame of mind, to make you laugh.

Now you might wonder what sort of a person could come up with the group of printed pages loosely referred to here as a script. In this case the author was Philip Stark. Before this screen play he was a writer on the Comedy Central flagship series ‘South Park’. Afterwards he would go on to writing for another TV sit-com with more than a passing acquaintance with pot, ‘That 70’s Show’. Just as it frequently takes a brilliant actor to portray a stupid character this man is actually well versed in what a flick like this requires. He knows how to write for his audience that that is in itself an accomplishment. If you have ever had a chance to try to talk to somebody stoned out on pot you will understand the method used in creating this script. A person who is high is trying to explain something even the simplest of subjects instantly becomes complex beyond belief. There is no going from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. Everything is a twisted journey with numerous side tracks and detours. In college a classmate of mine used to love to play a joke on his stoner roommate. He would get the stoner interested in a story he was telling, switch topics in the middle and then return to the original. He would laugh out loud as his bewildered roommate would try to follow. This is pretty much what Stark is doing here. The story meanders along for the entire running time making it almost impossible to follow yet alone make any sense of what is going on. It is like a stoner’s dream; incomprehensible. Just be realistic. When you sit down to watch a flick called ‘Dude, Where’s My Car’ you have to know that you will not see anyone attached to this project standing at the podium on Oscar night.

Looking at the resume of the director, Danny Leiner you would expect something better. Before this he directed episodes of the cancelled before its time TV cult classic ‘Freeks and Geeks’ as well as ‘Felicity’ and the bizarre comedy ‘Strangers with Candy. After this he went on to episodes of the ‘Gilmore Girls’ and the Sopranos but then again he did direct the stoner milestone flick ‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’. As good as his intensions might have been to quickly pace this movie it seems to drag on at times. It is basically a one joke vehicle that bets the proverbial horse after its death. It might have stood a better chance directing this movie if it weren’t for the numerous extraneous sub plots all craving attention. This prevented Leiner from maintaining even the slightest bit of a narrative. As discussed this may emulate the thought process of a stoner but it makes the job of bringing a coherent film to the screen nearly impossible. His film ‘Harold & Kumar’ worked better because it minimized the side stories to ensure the flow of the overall story. When the seductive aliens where introduced a strong director like Leiner had to throw up his hands and ask to speak to his agent.

As the film starts the protagonists Jesse (Ashton Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott) awaken in a daze. It is made clear that unlike other mornings this morning of confusion is worse than they previously have experienced. There memories are fuzzy; that is fuzzier than what usually passes for their waking state. On their answering machine is an angry message from their fraternal twin sister girlfriends Wilma (Marla Sokoloff) and Wanda (Jennifer Garner). To be fair this was right after Garner had a featured role in the disaster TV flick ‘Aftershock: Earthquake in New York’ and well before her rise to stardom with ‘Alias’. Apparently the guys blew off a date with these beautiful young women for a night of debauchery. Going outside the boys realize that their car is missing. Making matters worse the presents they bought the girls for their one year anniversary where inside. This leads them to exclaim the titular question. They decide that they have to retrace their steps to find the vehicle so the journey of the mindless begins. After encountering several people who should be committed to a psychiatric facility they come across the Amazon like aliens who are looking for the ‘Continuum Transfunctioner’. All of a sudden the fate of the planet is in the hands of this constantly high pair.

The DVD version of this film has been around since its original release in 2001. There was even a second release with the addition of another comedy to sweeten the deal. Now, for those out there who need to see this in high definition Fox is releasing the film in Blu-ray. I have to say that the infamous tattoos on the back of the guys never looked clearer. This is a perfect flick to have some friends over and do the home game edition of Mystery Science Fiction 3000. It will appeal mostly to stoners with really high end home theaters.

Posted 08/10/08

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