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WITHOUT A PADDLE ($30) is a generally amusing and goofy buddy comedy that occasionally references and spoofs DELIVERANCE, not to mention borrowing from the CITY SLICKERS playbook. Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard star in WITHOUT A PADDLE as three boyhood friends who, for various reasons, find themselves dissatisfied with their lives ten years after their high school graduation. Things change after the funeral of another boyhood friend was killed in accident. While revisiting the tree house they frequented as boys, they discover that their departed friend left them a map supposedly leading to D. B. Cooper's lost treasure. This leads the three to take a camping/canoe trip into the Oregon wilderness to find said lost treasure. As you might expect, everything that can go wrongÖ does. Our boys get chased by a bear, take the wrong fork down the river and hit the rapids, run afoul a couple of weapon toting marijuana farmers, not to mention encountering a crazed mountain man. The cast of WITHOUT A PADDLE also features Burt Reynolds, Abraham Benrubi, Ethan Suplee, Ray Baker, Rachel Blanchard, Christina Moore and Antony Starr.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made WITHOUT A PADDLE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is surprisingly solid and delivers a rather pleasing visual experience. While not the sharpest of most well defined hi-def picture out there, I canít say there was any reason to complain about how WITHOUT A PADDLE looks on Blu-ray. Some of the outdoor cinematography appears pretty terrific, plus the close-ups are nicely resolved. Some of the interiors come across a tad softer, but I am still not complaining. Colors are usually bright and very attractive. Both the blacks and the whites are accurate. Contrast is smooth, but shadow detail is a bit under-whelming in places. The elements from which WITHOUT A PADDLE has been transferred appear quite clean. A mild veneer of grain keeps the presentation organic looking.

WITHOUT A PADDLE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. No surprises here, the sound design doesnít really reach beyond the limitations of a typical talky comedy mix. There are moments where active effects are deployed into the outlying channels, plus there is some nice ambience, but much of what comes across is localized front and center. Fidelity is pretty nice, but the lossless encode canít do too much with undemanding material. Additionally, the bass channel keeps things grounded, but the material doesnít offer many opportunities for the subwoofer to kick in. Dialogue is always easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Steven Brill. Next is a Video Commentary with director Steven Brill, as well as Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard. Next is MTVís Making The Movie: Without A Paddle, a standard eighteen minute interview based program. Deleted Scenes, Trailers, Promos and Bonus Trailers for other Paramount titles close out the supplements.

WITHOUT A PADDLE is goofy good fun and the Blu-ray presentation proves to be a pretty pleasant surprise.



Without a Paddle [Blu-ray] (2004)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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