Ruddtrospective #18: Road Trippin’/Road Paintin’

Spoilers for Overnight Delivery, a movie you haven’t seen and shouldn’t see because it’s terrible and weird and no. Also spoilers for Prince Avalanche, a movie that I kind of would encourage you to see.

Overnight Delivery(1998) stars Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Christine Taylor, Sarah Silverman, and Larry Drake.

Paul Rudd plays Wyatt Trips, a man with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. His costar, the beautiful and equally charming Reese Witherspoon, plays fellow college student and part-time stripper Ivy Miller. The main conflict of the movie is that Wyatt Trips thinks his girlfriend Kimberly(Christine Taylor) is cheating on him, and Ivy convinces him to send a very rotten letter to her on Valentine’s Day that will definitively end their relationship. Right after sending this letter he learns the man he thought she was cheating on him with may in fact be a dog. He tries to stop the letter from being sent out, but the newly hired delivery man, Hal Ipswich(Larry Drake), is determined to not mess up on his first day. Wyatt forces Ivy to help him stop the letter from getting sent out, which leads to the two of them going on a road trip full of hijinks and bonding.

There are a lot of road trip movies out there, and they usually fall into one of a few different categories. In order to delay talking more about this movie I thought I’d define the different types of road trip movies.

The Wacky Duo –
There are two characters who don’t get along, but keep ending up together. One of the characters is straight-laced and grumpy, and that character is desperate to get somewhere on time. The other character is goofy and obnoxious, and they mean well, but they keep derailing the other guy’s plans to get home. Over the course of the movie the straight-laced grump learns to love and forgive the goofy and obnoxious weirdo, and the two of them become good friends. Examples of this include Due Date(A bad movie directed by the guy that made The Hangover and Joker) and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, one of my all-time favorite comedies. Overnight Delivery kind of falls in this category, but it also has elements from the next category as well.

The Unlikely Romance –
These two characters also don’t get along, but they’re forced to spend time together traveling somewhere. It’s usually a man and a woman, because Hollywood hates diversity. And one of them usually has a significant other who will end up dumped by the end of the movie because they have some kind of character flaw. A good example of this is Leap Year, in which a gruff and witty Irishman woos Amy Adams out of the arms of her beautiful beau, Adam Scott.

The Family Bonding Movie –
The family bonding movie is about a family that isn’t getting along but learns to over time. This has absolutely nothing to do with Overnight Delivery, but I needed more than two categories. Two great examples of this that kind of turn the genre on its head is We’re The Millers and The Mitchells vs the Machines. Watch both those movies. They’re both awesome.

The reason why I haven’t said much about this movie is because there isn’t much to say. The characters are all incredibly unlikable. Paul Rudd is a horny guy who really just wants to blame every bad thing that happens on Reese Witherspoon, despite the fact that very little of what happens is her fault. So he spends most of the movie whining. And Reese Witherspoon falls head over heels in love with him despite the fact that he spends the entire movie ruining her life and treating her like crap. Don’t watch this movie.

Overall Rating: 3/10(There are glimpses of funny moments to be found in this, but they’re largely unintentional. Although the outfits Paul Rudd has to wear in this are pretty spectacular. And the soundtrack isn’t bad either. So those are some good things about this.)
Rudd Rating: 7.5/10(I was originally going to give him a lower score, but then I remembered it’s his job to act like an unlikable idiot in this. It’s the writer’s job to redeem his character and give us a reason as to why Reese would like him. So good job, Paul.)

Prince Avalanche(2013) stars Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, and Lance LeGault.

This movie is the exact opposite of Overnight Delivery in terms of things happening. Overnight Delivery takes place over the course of maybe two days and so many things happen. There’s car chases and explosions and a serial killer kidnaps Paul Rudd. Paul Rudd gets arrested twice and swings from one balcony to another. It’s a lot. Prince Avalanche takes place over the course of a few weeks and very little actually happens. Because this movie is about the emotional journey. And it’s pretty good. My thoughts are below.

  • HBO billed this as a quirky buddy comedy.
  • This quirky buddy comedy opens with these words: “In 1987, 43,000 woodland acres in central Texas were burned by wildfires. Approximately 1,600 homes were destroyed and four lives were lost. The cause of the fires remains unknown.”
  • Funny stuff.
  • And the movie takes place in 1988, so that can’t be good.
  • There was a long shot of some forest fires and now I see what appears to be Paul Rudd exiting a tent wearing overalls. Nice.
  • Props to the actors, director, and cinematographer. Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch have yet to say a single line, but already I know they’re in Texas and they’re painting the yellow stripes on the road. And from body language I can tell Paul Rudd enjoys the outdoors more than Emile does and the two don’t enjoy working together. I like it when they don’t have to tell you everything that’s going on.
  • That’s cool. The title of the movie appears incrementally as Emile Hirsch pounds the stake into the ground.
  • According to Wikipedia, this movie is a remake of a film that was made in Iceland. I couldn’t find any reference to what the plot of that movie is, but I can’t imagine that it has anything to do with painting road lines after a wildfire. That’s interesting, though.
  • Paul Rudd looks like Luigi in his overalls.
  • So apparently Emile Hirsch, whose character is named Lance, is the brother of Paul Rudd’s wife or girlfriend? And Paul Rudd’s character is named Alvin.
  • It’s oddly satisfying watching them paint the highway lines.
  • A good quote from Paul Rudd: “There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone.”
  • So Alvin loves the peace and quiet of nature but Lance is just horny and doesn’t want to be there.
  • I love a good indy movie because the cinematography is usually pretty damn beautiful. Especially the ones that mostly just take place out in nature. 
  • Emile Hirsch is pretty whiny in this but he and Paul Rudd have a weird chemistry. Like they annoy the crap out of each other but there’s mutual respect or something? I don’t know.
  • This movie makes me feel so peaceful.
  • There’s a weird scene where Paul Rudd helps a woman pick through the wreckage of her house but all of their dialogue is played as voiceover for some reason? It’s like the two of them are speaking to each other telepathically. It’s odd that they decided to show the scene like that.
  • Paul Rudd got dumped. Poor guy.
  • She dumped him because he’s never around and he’s always going out into the wilderness to deal with his anxiety and provide for his wife alone. It’s a really sad and realistic representation of a relationship falling apart.
  • Paul Rudd is so depressed he jumped off a small cliff.
  • So after fighting for a while the two of them are now incredibly drunk and messing around.
  • Emile Hirsch is like Jack Black if Jack Black was a younger gentleman with blondish-brown hair, a whiny voice, and an urge to star in the Speed Racer movie that the Wachowski’s made.
  • At one point Emile Hirsch was looking for Paul Rudd and he screamed “ALVIN!!!” into the distance. It reminded me of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • The movie ends with them driving off to go to a beauty pageant to find women?
  • It’s not a bad movie. Not much happens, but it’s not a bad movie.

It’s very different from any of the other films he’s made, but that isn’t particularly a bad thing. And this probably isn’t for anyone, but I thought it was pretty good. It’s way better than Overnight Delivery at least.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10(I wasn’t sure how I felt about Emile Hirsch at first, but I enjoyed him in this. He has good chemistry with Paul. And I feel like I should check out the rest of David Gordon Green’s filmography, because I enjoyed this.)
Rudd Rating: 8.5/10(Another raw and emotional performance from my main man. I know I picked the right actor to fall in love with because he always puts in a good performance, no matter how unlikable the character may be.)

I’ve decided to stop dragging my feet and finally revisit the Paul Rudd movie that I assume people have been waiting for me to review. Next week is a big one, so stay tuned.

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