Movie: Without a Paddle

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Our Rating: 2.00

Despite the title, it's not a sequel to Up the Creek, which is bound to disappoint viewers who can never get enough Tim Matheson and Cheap Trick in their lives. What it is, though, isn't much better: An eye-rolling amalgam of City Slickers and a played-for-laughs Deliverance, with a trio of Regular Joes fighting for their lives on a canoeing expedition gone haywire. They're following a treasure map left behind by a deceased pal – a setup that affords way too many opportunities for these eternally adolescent numbskulls to pine over their supposedly vanished youth. Their '80s salad days are represented by the party mix of kitsch classics that is the movie's soundtrack, and therein lies a serious conundrum: How much sympathy can you invest in guys who are nostalgic for .38 Special? As the done-to-death survivalist slapstick is doled out one more time, Dax Shepard, the lead you've never heard of, proves a sight more likable than the two you have (Seth Green and Matthew Lillard). But no one performance survives the movie's overall inability to present male bonding in a light that even a halfway-intelligent male would respond favorably to. Elsewhere, the appearance of pedigreed animal actor Bart the Bear is too fleeting to be any serious enhancement.

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