2003 - PG-13 - 105 Mins.
|Director: Casey La Scala
|Producer: Bill Gerber
|Written By: Ralph Sall
|Starring: Mike Vogel, Adam Brody Jennifer Morrison, Vince Vieluf
|Review by: Joe Rickey
Four friends, recently graduated from high school, embark on a road trip with the intention of following their skateboarding idol while themselves hopefully getting noticed and becoming famous along the way. Grind, a juvenile teen comedy with low wattage star power (The biggest name in the cast would have to be Adam Brody, of such TV shows as The Gilmore Girls and The O.C.), a first time director in Casey La Scala, a rookie screenwriter in Ralph Sall, is exactly what you would expect from such a low budget and haphazardly produced production. The film is lacking in enough substance to make for something even resembling a fulfilling viewing experience.
There have been countless road trip films over the years, from the serious ones like Joy Ride to the comedic such as Dumb and Dumber and the aptly titled Road Trip. The comedic road trip films have been all over the map in terms of quality also. There have been the maniacally funny such as Rat Race and Dumb and Dumber, along with the forgettable films such as Overnight Delivery. Grind definitely fits the bill as forgettable, but it even manages to be a more excruciating experience than Overnight Delivery.
Grind appears to be a film that was improvised on the fly. Scenes fail to connect with one another at times, gag after gag has little to do with one another. At times, it seems as if the film is a set of unrelated skits rather than a cohesive whole. The film also has such a basic plot that beyond the group’s dreams of being discovered, which is not really enough to sustain the film because you don’t get the chance to know very much about any one persona, there isn’t much to sustain one’s interest. It doesn’t help that the humor usually is of the gross-out variety, such as when one character is attacked by a strange lizard out in the middle of the desert. It seems that director La Scala was aiming for a madcap gross-out comedy in the vein of Road Trip with the obvious addition of extreme sports as an influence but, because of a lack of much skill as an auteur, the resulting film is a failure.
The acting is also lacking across the board. The group of actors that comprise the road trip crew are obviously inexperienced and therefore the majority of their lines and actions seemed forced. Adam Brody is the only fairly bright spot among them because he simply has more talent than the others and it shows in his performance.
The film also features many scenes of skateboarding competitions that also fail to work because it is made rather obvious that the actors were replaced by stunt doubles; taking you out of the film even more.
Overall, Grind is a rather disappointing attempt at an extreme sports comedy, failing on both the comedic and sports fronts. Therefore, it unfortunately cannot be recommended for those looking for a relatively good time at the movies, with only diehard fans of extreme sports maybe being able to find enjoy in the film.