If you stayed up most of the night drinking stale Bud and watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Repo Man, MTV, some Three Stooges shorts and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, then ate a bad, bad pizza right before you went to bed, you’d probably end up having a dream very much like Dude, Where’s My Car? Meet Bill and Ted, I mean Jesse and Chester: a couple of slap-happy-go-lucky numbskulls who blindly go through life first, forget, then later try and figure out what they did, usually getting distracted and forgetting that they were trying to remember something in the first place.
Although the writing isn’t as clever as the movies this film emulates, Ashton Kutcher (Jesse) and Seann William Scott (Chester) are charming, refreshing and definitely have a rapport and compatibility that works. And their girlfriends, Wanda and Wilma (Jennifer Garner and Marla Sokoloff), got something going on too. But the rest of the cast looks like leftover extras from a used-car commercial, and their costumes and props look like they were pieced together from what Mom had in the closet and Dad had in the garage, which would have been OK if the writing had been more original.
Dude, Where’s My Car? is a stoner mystery that recycles tried and occasionally true gags specifically packaged for today’s teenage audiences, like the cheerleading squad I was sitting next to. All us old folks over 20 can’t help but see familiar comic routines reinterpreted using pizzas instead of cream pies, transsexual strippers instead of crime-world thugs, and sexy emotionless aliens instead of ... well, some things are the same.
I have to admit, I did laugh a few times. Some things are funny no matter how many times you see them. And at the heart of this film is the timeless struggle between stoners, jocks and nerds, something we can all relate to. But don’t expect to take anything home with you after this movie, except maybe an hour-and-a-half less of your life.
E-mail Anita Schmaltz at firstname.lastname@example.org.