WITHOUT A PADDLE: NATURE’S CALLING
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Oliver James as BEN
Kristopher Turner as ZACH
Rik Young as NIGEL
Jerry Rice as HAL GORE
Madison Riley as HEATHER
Amber McDonald as THUNDERSTORM
Directed by: Ellory Elkayem
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The sequel to the 2004 comedy hit “Without a Paddle” tells the story of the wilderness girls the other group of guys spied on in the woods. “Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling” follows two twentysomething friends, Ben (Oliver James) and Zach (Kristopher Turner). Ben has been pining over Heather, a girl he met in grade school, and after an old woman in the nursing home where Zach works asks him to find her granddaughter, they discover it’s Heather, all grown up.
Zach convinces Ben to blow off work for the weekend and search for his dream girl in the woods of Oregon. Along for the ride is Heather’s snooty step brother Nigel (Rik Young), who has a mysterious agenda of his own.
WHAT I LIKED
Probably the biggest high point in “Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling” is that Dax Shepard didn’t come anywhere close to it. And while I like Seth Green from the first film, the duo of Ben and Zach in this film were much more palatable than before because of Shepard’s absence.
Ultimately, viewers need to look at this film for what it is: a direct-to-DVD sequel to a mediocre hit. I wasn’t expecting Oscar-winning material with this release. With it’s mild PG-13 rating, I wasn’t expecting anything too extreme. For some reason, I remember the original being rated R, but it also carried a PG-13 rating. The biggest difference between the two, content wise, is that this movie doesn’t have the overt drug references.
I will admit that I laughed at some moments of this movie. If you were to take out some of the beer and sex jokes, it might even work as a pre-teen comedy. As it is, the screwball antics seemed more at home in a family film, but it is definitely made for the horny teenage boy crowd. Case in point, the grown-up Heather and her “partner” Thunderstorm are nice to look at. However, remember that pesky PG-13 rating if you’re expecting anything “revealing.”
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I would have liked to have seen a little more edge to the comedy of this movie. Comparing it to recent direct-to-DVD movies I’ve seen, this seemed more on the comedic lines of “Beethoven’s Big Break.” However, thinking back to my days as a thirteen-year-old kid, with the parents censoring any R-rated movies, this movie would have been a prime choice for us back then.
In the end, though, “Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling” had a distinct feel of a lower-rent sequel.
The DVD comes with a making-of featurette, along with a slate of deleted scenes and a gag reel. There’s also a tongue-in-cheek discussion of the live-action reference for the squirrels in the film called “Furious Nuts,” as well as a look at the treehouse set in the “Treehouse Tales” featurette. Finally, this DVD comes with instructions on download a digital copy of the film.
The features available on the Blu-Ray disc mirror those of the standard DVD, only they include the three featurettes (“Up the Creek: The Making of Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling,” “Furious Nuts” and “Treehouse Tales”) presented in high definition.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Thirteen-year-old boys wanting something edgy but whose parents still won’t let them watch R-rated movies.