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Road Trip Review

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After mistakenly sending his girlfriend a videotape of himself having extra-relationship sex with a college student, Josh must travel cross-country from Ithaca to Austin before she gets it.

★★★★

Ah, the college road trip. What japes! What memories! The visceral thrill of having to extricate yourself from endless one-way systems by sheer centrifugal force. The sound of the engine seizing up in a traffic jam on the M25. The sight of RAC operatives openly laughing at the smouldering hunk-of-junk that used to be your car.

Okay, so Britain may not be the best place to hit the open road in between lectures. Over in America, though, they get to do these things properly. For one thing, Yanks have a damn sight more tarmac to trip on. And, for another, their students seem able to equip themselves with vehicles capable of travelling further than the nearest all-night garage. Finally, American females seem happy to videotape their one-night stands - thereby setting up a situation whereby the guy in question must travel halfway across the country to retrieve the accidentally-mailed tape before his childhood sweetheart gets the opportunity to see her beau playing hide the salami with a stranger.

This, at least, is what happens in 'Road Trip'. Although, in truth, the 'plot' is really an excuse for our hero, Josh, and his fellow passengers to engage in all manner of antics as they attempt to finance their 1,800-mile New York to Texas trip by donating sperm, cadge a bed at an all-black fraternity, or steal a bus from a school for the blind. Further un-PC weirdness emanates from the film's narrator - MTV's resident madman, Tom Green - who feels obliged to add a few tits to his tale whenever the mood takes him.

If all this sounds like The Farrelly Brothers Go To College, then you're pretty much on the money - although director Todd Phillips can claim his own gonzo pedigree, having made the documentary 'Frat House', which showed American college students behaving in a manner that makes the 'Road Trip' characters look like saints.

He is also considerably helped by the film's excellent cast, particularly 'American Pie's Scott who, having set the entire ball rolling by suggesting that Meyer sow his wild oats, attempts to make the poor bastard feel better by setting out a handy set of 'cheating rules': It's not cheating if you're in different area codes; if you're too wasted to remember it; if you're with two people at the same time because they cancel each other out, etc.

Naturally, of course, 'American Pie' comparisons will be drawn. And, while it's a close run thing, this film is probably better, thanks to some increasingly knowing digs at the '80s movies it so lovingly mirrors. The result, then, deserves to reside somewhere in the same keg-and-vomit-strewn ball park of humour as 'National Lampoon's 'Animal House', while also featuring a character-building subtext about the importance of getting all that one can out of life - even if that involves letting a nurse stick her hand up your arse.

Plotless, tasteless, but wickedly funny. This has all the elements to make it a teen great. Pips 'American Pie' to the post by cringeworthy margin.