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Film / Road Trip

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Love is never having to say you're sorry you made a sex tape with a woman then mailed it to your girlfriend.

Born in the white-hot fury of the late-'90s, early-2000s teen-sex-comedy boom, Road Trip is the story of young Josh Parker and the consequences of one night's craziness.

Josh's long-term, long-distance girlfriend Tiffany has got silent on him, and so, believing she is dumping him, he accepts the advances of the beautiful Beth Wagner. The next morning, after Beth has left, Josh's friends E.L., Rubin Carver and Barry Manilow (not the Barry Manilow, mind you) come to investigate. Josh reveals that Beth videotaped their amorous adventures, evidence that his friends demand to see. Of course, the tape sitting on the TV contains a romantic message Josh recorded for Tiffany - the "sex with Beth tape" is in an envelope winging its way to Austin, Texas. Right as this realization sinks in, the phone rings - it's Tiffany, apologizing for not answering Josh's calls, as her beloved grandfather just died suddenly. Josh realizes there's only one option: get to Austin before the envelope and prevent Tiffany from ever seeing it.

Thus begins the wacky adventures of Josh, E.L., Rubin and Kyle - the one who actually owns the car - as they travel 1800 miles to try and save Josh's relationship. A quest that will take them through jumping broken bridges in a Ford Taurus, pretending to be members of a national black fraternity, stealing a school bus from a blind chick and discovering why you shouldn't send food back at greasy-spoon diners.

Released in 2000, Road Trip is one of Todd Phillips's earliest films.

Got followed up by an unrelated straight to DVD sequel in 2009 called Road Trip: Beer Pong which focused on a road trip to a beer pong tournament. It only features one significant cast member from the first film (DJ Qualls).

Provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Played with. It turns out that the trip wasn't strictly necessary after all, because Barry unwittingly replaced the offending part of the tape with a recording of his butt. However, it turns out that Tiffany was going to dump Josh anyway, due to the two having grown apart during their time at college, and Josh's presence at least allows the two to end things amicably and in person, instead of her doing it either over the phone or via a "Dear John" Letter. More importantly, all the people involved undergo Character Development as a result of the trip.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Mentioned in the Shower Scene by a topless woman. Barry is even called out for narrating this particular scene with excessive nudity.
  • Ass Shove: Happens to E.L. at the sperm bank when he asks the nurse for "assistance". It does provide him with the best orgasm he's ever had. This is even given a Call-Back at the end of the movie when he's bent over again, this time asking for three fingers.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Rubin's sophisticated calculations for the bridge jump. And it worked out ... kinda. He only predicted that they would make it across, he didn't say anything about the axles breaking or the vehicle exploding after succeeding in the jump.
  • Bachelor Auction: One of the extremely rare bachelorette versions, although the auctioneer is careful to point out that purchasing the woman in question in no way confers any suggestion that sex will result.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Rhonda, as played by the late Mia Amber Davis.
  • Blatant Lies: "1600s? It says 1951." - "That's the address. OK?"
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Rubin and E.L. list off reasons in an attempt to justify Josh's cheating on Tiffany. And then comes Kyle's turn...
  • Brick Joke: When E.L. tells Josh that it's not cheating if you're in different area codes. Tiffany tells Josh that she was with one other guy, other than him, when he was away at camp and she was 14 "and in different area codes."
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Kyle.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Josh has two of them. Early on, after waking from his bad dream where he envisions his girl friend making out with another dude in the open. Another one when staying at the Manilows'. He has a third one in a deleted extension of that scene.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Barry. Witness both The Feeding and the Animal Song. Plus, of course, the Running Gag of "Austin... Massachusetts?"
  • Cool Old Guy: Grandpa Manilow.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Kyle's joke about dogs and testicles goes awry because of him repeating the punch line.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Even if the Taurus hadn't mysteriously exploded, the impact would almost certainly have destroyed the chassis and suspension.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The random guy in Boston who had been mistakenly accused of cheating on his girlfriend is shown to get a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by said girlfriend with never-the-less a baseball bat. How does the crowd who witnesses the situation reacts? They simply just gather around and watched as if the guy deserves it, all because he supposedly cheated.
  • Erudite Stoner: Rubin smokes pot regularly, but is neither brain-fried nor paranoid. In fact, he is intelligent, polite and clean-cut. Erudite, to the point of being able to bluff his way into the Xi Chi frat house - despite it being a national black fraternity.
    • This was taken to the point of Intelligence Equals Isolation, as Rubin also mentions how, until he started smoking pot to mellow himself out, he was the only kid to have panic attacks as a result of the Gulf War, being prescribed an adult dosage of Xanax.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Jumping a broken bridge with a Ford Taurus, the group is dismayed when the wheels fall off. They start to hike to find help - when the car explodes.
  • Face Cam: Upon Kyle during the fraternity house party.
  • Fainting: Kyle can't take the KKK joke.
  • Fanservice: An unusual Leaning on the Fourth Wall variety. See Shower Scene.
  • Flipping the Bird: The blind girl.
  • Four-Man Band:
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble
    • Josh is sanguine
    • E.L. is choleric
    • Kyle is melancholic
    • Rubin is phlegmatic
  • Framing Device: Barry tells the story in flashbacks.
  • Geeky Analogy: Rubin is able to teach Josh enough philosophy to beat a doctorate test by linking the information to something Josh likes (and will recall easily): wrestling. He even begins his (two-day) explanation by giving the Badass Boast of "I could teach a chimpanzee philosophy in two days; I just need something for him to understand."
    "Socrates is like the Vince McMahon of philosophy. He started it all."
  • Gilligan Cut: "Are there any guys out there who are just normal??!" - cut to Barry and his snake.
  • The Grunting Orgasm: E.L. during a... special medical inspection.
  • Home Porn Movie: The cause of all trouble.
  • Irrevocable Message: Not exactly a message, but the main character thinks he accidentally sent a sex tape of him cheating on his girlfriend. The main plot is the gang traveling to get the tape back.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Kyle's dad.
  • The Last Straw: Scott's character demonstrates he can spit across a ten-foot wide broken bridge. He did, but causing the other end of the bridge to collapse from his spit.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The guys all end up wearing the same clothes for several days due to their luggage being destroyed in the explosion. It's noticeable with Josh, whose sweatshirt gets dirtier and sweatier as the film progresses.
  • Male Gaze: During the Shower Scene, a woman is explaining how All Men Are Perverts. As she continues the explanation the camera zooms in on her breasts, until they're all we can see. When another girl picks up the thread of her complaints, the camera pans over to her - still with an extremely tight focus on her breasts.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: The dramatic music during the Orbital Kiss at the end stops when Barry and the red-haired lady come to their senses.
  • Nerd Glasses: The motel clerk.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Boobs!
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Josh and Tiffany have one.
  • Orbital Kiss: In the film's finale. Played for laughs with the transition from Josh/Beth to Berry/red-haired Lady.
  • Papa Wolf: Kyle's insanely strict father takes this one a bit too far.
  • Product Placement: Rubin appears on the cover of High Times magazine.
  • The Quest: For a sex tape.
  • Raging Stiffie: Grandpa Manilow and the goddamn Viagra.
  • Revenge Is a Dish Best Served: The asshole cook that gets upset about Kyle asking him to take powered sugar off his toast (a very mild request said very meekly by the nicest guy of the protagonists in a complete inversion of Unsatisfiable Customer) retaliates by licking the sugar off and then shitting on the toast before handing it back. What is more disgusting is the fact that Kyle never figures this out and actually likes the taste.
  • Road Trip Plot: Unsurprisingly.
  • Secret Handshake: How Rubin get them into the fraternity house.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Kyle experiences this after scoring with Rhonda. It allows him to stand up to his father.
  • Shower Scene: Described by one of the characters and shown to the viewer - put on pause when an actual woman questioned it, the question is Hand Waved and we return to naked goodness.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: Wherein the shortcut leads over a Broken Bridge.
    "Of course it's difficult, it's a short-cut. If it was easy it would just be the way."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jacob is a very creepy example of this when it comes to Beth.
  • Talking Animal: Grandpa Manilow's dog.
  • Tempting Fate: After the bridge jump, Rubin tells Josh that the cars tires just need fixing and they will only lose half a day on the trip. The car promptly explodes.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Kyle and Rhonda.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: With the video tapes. There would have been no plot without it.
  • Unrated Edition: Minor changes, mostly the extension of the Shower Scene.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The main story is told through the eyes of Barry, a campus tour guide who's not playing with a full deck. Barry wasn't even present on the titular road trip. As such, the story has some highly improbable elements.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Inverted Trope. Kyle asks meekly on a diner for his toast to have some sugar removed from it. The cook licks it clean and takes a dump on it, farts and all.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Josh's girlfriend is about to vomit during his nightmare vision, but then suddenly wakes up.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: The boys of Xi Chi plant a Klan hood on Kyle, accusing him of bigotry. When Kyle faints in terror, the boys reveal it to be a prank and a loud party ensues.
  • Watch the Paint Job: The precious Ford Taurus.
  • Wild Teen Party: A relatively mild example near the beginning, with a good-natured "girl auction" taking place in the front room and an least one group upstairs experimenting with lesbianism and group sex.
  • You Have Waited Long Enough: E.L. does this on Josh, directing him to Beth.