Note: Road Trip is currently exclusive to Best Buy on Blu-ray. The Amazon link is to their digital download service.
Animal House takes a road trip of its own late into that classic ’70s college epic, one that decades later the hilarious (and aptly titled) Road Trip would mimic almost in its entirety. Paulo Costanzo smokes a joint with this film’s elder, certainly not far off base from the Donald Sutherland sequence in House. The crew ends up in a racially tied fraternity, on par with the brilliant bar romp in the ’78 icon.
There’s even the moment where the panicked kid needs to be convinced to let the crew use his car with the fear that his father would be angry, and as figured, the car doesn’t make it to Austin, which in Road Trip, is the destination.
But, despite the similarities that raise a caution flag, Road Trip is a film for a new generation, one spawned when Tom Green was relevant and Sean William Scott continued to be typecast. It was a simpler time when boys on their mythical college journey stole from the blind and earned money from sperm banks… with assistance. In that time, they became men.
Spurring this semi-cross country ride is a sex tape, which Breckin Meyer accidentally mailed to his girlfriend. The rush is on to beat Postal Service delivery times (not that difficult), making the hiccups on the quest Road Trip’s choppy comedic center.
Like any Hollywood college celebration, the reasons for Road Trip’s existence is thin at best, sort of like why Tom Green is here. He relays the story to a group of touring high school seniors, spliced into the story to cut down on the necessity of showing the main group driving down the highway. That would get repetitious, unlike the raunchy, racy, sexist fun during the stops.
Road Trip doesn’t have a legacy, at least not in the same vein as Animal House, no matter how hard it tries. Despite spawning a direct and indirect sequel, Road Trip didn’t enter the collegiate canon, but it’s a great time waster, one of those you can’t turn off when you catch a glimpse. Somehow, the unrated (or rated) charms have that effect.
Paramount delivers this catalog piece to Blu-ray in a capable, generally pleasing encode. The grain structure is resolved precisely without any potential complaints. Road Trip keeps the film stock preserved.
This doesn’t appear to be a super-high resolution scan. Despite an abundance of facial detail in close -which is certainly impressive- medium shots struggle to retain that level of definition. The farther the camera set up is, the more obvious the loss of fine detail becomes. Mid-range shots appear filtered, a little smoothed without the crispness of those close-ups.
Light edging is noticeable too, high contrast edges unable to cleanly resolve themselves. It’s a minor nitpick, and appears more like a slight degradation to the source material than any malicious intent on the part of Paramount. The rest of the film looks too natural for it to be much of anything else. Barely noticeable print damage can be spotted in the form of specks, but again, it’s a miniscule intrusion.
Colors have a natural burst of saturation that loads up primaries and leaves flesh tones alone. Exteriors of the school or homes play up the natural greenery, and clothing has energy where brightness is concerned. Backing it all are pleasing, in line black levels that salvage shadow detail and leave their mark on the transfer.
Road Trip has an explosion, certainly as vivid and vibrant as this disc will find itself aurally. The boom registers in the sub with an echo bleeding out into the rears, certainly selling a surprise moment.
The rest of the film is sedate, with moments that generate some buzz in this DTS-HD track. Parties are lively in their ability to swell out into all areas of the soundfield. Shots on college campus’ will offer mild ambiance as students wander around chattering. Panicked action, say the snake bite on Tom Green, are centrally mixed without much pizazz. Dialogue balances well, restricted to the center.
Extras are ported from the DVD with the exception of some cast text bios and DVD-ROM functionality. Sorry, that Road Trip screen saver didn’t make the cut.
Ever Been on a Road Trip lets Tom Green loose backstage for five minutes to question the cast about their experiences on the highways. Eleven minutes of deleted scenes, a music video, and a few trailers finish the disc off.
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