Imagine a remake of one of the most disturbing movies of the 70-es, Deliverance. Done in 2004, in the middle of the neo-Victorian era, with the exposure of Janet Jackson’s breasts being item of scandal. That can’t be good news, right?
Without a paddle misses all the major points of the original: there is nothing of the duality of city dweller vs. country folk. None of the ideological reasons for the original trip. The rawness of the original is unmatched. The desperation is just not there.
Instead, Without a Paddle tries to be teenage-funny. Three friends decide after a fourth friend’s funeral to finally do the trip the recently deceased wanted them to do. A treasure hunt, in Oregon. The three leave town, get themselves canoes and go for the river.
From there on, it’s slapstick, it’s crude humor, it’s really quite amusing. A bear will take the shortest of the trio, an asthmatic doctor, as a cub replacement and force-feed it. The trio will lose their canoe and hope to find help in the woods, but stumbles across a pot farm. Chased by the two pot farmers, our heroes will find refuge in a tree house inhabited by beautiful tree huggers.
What do you know? The plot makes sense, it’s an amusing little movie, and if I sound patronizing: you try watching this without feeling superior…