Road Trip

A college student accidentally mails his long-distance girlfriend a videotape of himself having sex with another girl, so he enlists the help of three friends as he drives from Ithaca, New York to Austin, Texas in order to apprehend the incriminating video before the girlfriend does.

That's it for plot. The bulk of Road Trip consists of gags, gags, gags – several of them, of course, gag-inducing. But honestly, although I wasn't rolling in the aisles, I enjoyed the film. The inevitable gross-out moments aren't too mean-spirited, Phillips and cowriter Scot Armstrong sympathize with their characters, and the cast is likable. It's nice to see a movie about horny college students that doesn't resort to slapstick violence, and even dredges up a modicum of respect for its female characters. All in all, this is a light and lively movie that respects one of comedy's cardinal rules: don't throw out the jokes just to make room for pathos.

My only beef is with Tom Green, who plays the friends' stay-at-home slacker pal and the film's narrator. It seems as though Phillips just let him cut loose, which doesn't always sail. But then I never found Green very funny. I know many people do, so I'll leave it at that. (I don't think Jim Carrey is funny either.) The real standout is newcomer DJ Qualls. He's just plain great as the bone-thin, virginal Kyle: he elevates what could have been standard dork schtick into actual humanity. Though he is certainly game for anything, whether it's dancing like an idiot or making love to a pleasingly plump black girl or shoving his hand down his underpants, you somehow still see him as a person – and a lovable one at that.