Road Trip (US - BD RA)
Jonathan checks out the new Blu-ray of Todd Phillips's directorial debut..
The Blu-ray release of Road Trip is currently a Best Buy exclusive.
When an extra hot video of Josh (Breckin Meyer) getting freaky with the luscious Beth (Amy Smart) is accidentally mailed to his girlfriend, he has three days to get to Texas before the tape does. (From the Paramount synopsis)
The late 90's saw a revival of raunchy R-rated movies with box office hits like There's Something About Mary and American Pie, both of which have instantly recognizable gags to anyone reasonably versed in pop culture. Todd Phillips, who is best known now for The Hangover, got his feature-length debut with this film in 2000, hot on the heels of American Pie's success. I was in my early teens when Road Trip came out, and even though I didn't see it until it was out of theaters, I was the perfect age and demographic for it's immature gags and Tom Green's oddball humour (before it got completely stale). Even though I enjoyed it at the time, I never did watch Road Trip a second time until this Blu-ray release showed up. There were always just better movies that offered the same brand of comedy but were more consistently funny and quotable among friends.
So how does it hold up? To be honest, not very well. I've probably just outgrown it or perhaps I'm spoiled by the more emotionally mature R-rated comedies from the Apatow empire, but I didn't laugh once in this sitting. Ok so maybe I smirked at Tom Green's 'Tiny Salmon' song. It's perfectly watchable and never outright bad, and it has a charming cast of comedy actors who were new and exciting when it came out, but the jokes don't pack enough originality and memorable gags to distinguish itself in the genre. The previously mentioned There's Something About Mary and American Pie were both superior at the time and have also aged better. Todd Phillips went on to make much better comedies ( The Hangover, Old School) and much worse ( School for Scoundrels).
I never know what to expect from a Paramount catalogue release in terms of video quality. They usually do good work with older classics like Once Upon a Time in the West or the recent Chinatown, but more recent titles (like Almost Famous) aren't a sure thing. Road Trip certainly shows some age, but for the most part this is a reasonably good 1080p presentation of the movie. It looks as though there is a small amount of edge enhancement going on, but its really only noticeable in wide shots with a lot of detail in the scene. Film grain is intact but not quite consistent, and even looks smeared out in a few instances. There's also some very occasional damage marks and scratches. Colours are a bit washed out but black levels look pretty good. Detail is strong, making it very evident that this is a high definition image. The transfer actually looks very similar to the Almost Famous release from last year. There's room for improvement, but for a Best Buy exclusive catalogue comedy release it could've been a lot worse.
Road Trip doesn't have a very robust or dynamic sound mix to take advantage of Blu-ray technology. In most scenes, sound stays entirely focused into the center channel. The few exceptions are loud party scenes with music and an isolated car explosion. These scenes also feature the only LFE channel activity. Rear channels make rare visits to bring in background chatter and music, but there's nothing going on with them for 95% of the movie. The track seemed a little quiet for a DTS-HD Master Audio track as well. Once you've dialed up the volume, dialogue levels fit comfortably in the mix without any complaints and quailty of the audio is solid even if it's pretty flat overall. No one really watches a movie like Road Trip for technical wizardry, so this meager audio mix shouldn't be a dealbreaker for fans of the movie. It still gets the job done.
Special features are ported over from the unrated DVD release. Things kick off with Ever Been on a Road Trip?(SD, 04:55), a short behind-the-scenes featurette hosted by Tom Green where he goofs around and asks some of the cast members questions. There are seven Deleted Scenes (SD, 10:43) which are pretty forgettable, but it was amusing to see a younger Jim Gaffigan make an appearance in one of them. The only remaining features are a music video for Eel's - Mr. E's Beautiful Blues(SD, 03:53) and three trailers.
Road Trip wasn't nearly as funny as I found it in the year 2000, but it still remains somewhat charming thanks to a likable cast and some character-focused humour. Fans that invest in this Best Buy exclusive can expect a good video transfer, a flawed but acceptable audio track, and some disposable extras from the previous DVD release.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Jonathan Hogberg
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 15th May 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Portuguese,
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: "Ever Been on a Road Trip?", Deleted Scenes, Eels Music Video, "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues", Teaser Trailer HD, International Trailer 1 HD, International Trailer 2 HD
Easter Egg: No
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Tom Green
Genre: Adventure and Comedy
Length: 93 minutes