Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 1:24 - Released 12/15/00

For Ashton Kutcher, the 21-year-old former Iowa University biochem student who landed the part of Michael Kelso on the popular TV sitcom That '70s Show, one could almost say that his career prospects are so bright, he has nowhere to go but up. And yet, surprisingly, amazingly, his first starring film role is in one of the stupidest movies of 2000. The only thing more stupid than Danny Leiner's Dude, Where's My Car? was the idea to release it in December, up against all the Oscar contenders, instead of a month later with the rest of the cinema filler. This is a January release if I ever saw one.

Written by '70s Show story editor Philip Stark, Dude, Where's My Car? plays like a lamer version of an old Cheech & Chong movie. I would think the only market sector who would find this funny would be pot smokers currently in the process of smoking pot. It is, in fact, about pot smokers, although during the entire duration of the film, they do not imbibe. The action takes place the morning after a huge party where Jesse (Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott, American Pie) got so wasted, they don't remember a thing. Including the location of Jesse's car.

As the boys set out to find the vehicle, which, they think, contains the awesome anniversary presents they were going to give their virginal twin girlfriends (Jennifer Garner, Marla Sokoloff), they find themselves pursued by aliens, thugs, would-be alien abductees, a cross-dressing stripper, and a group of "hot chicks" similar to those found in Robert Palmer videos, most of whom are seeking a device called the "continuum transfunctioner," which apparently could destroy or save the universe depending on whose hands it falls into. Although this huge group of pursuers forces Jesse & Chester into many misadventures, all they really want is to find Jesse's car and deliver the presents, so they may receive their girlfriends' "special treats," which, they think, is sex.

This movie tries to be funny. It succeeds about 15 percent of the time. The other 85 percent is filled with repetitive jokes that go on too long (in one scene, the title is repeated for what seems like about 5 minutes non-stop), lame sight gags, and idiotic characterizations. Despite cameo appearances by people like Fabio, Andy Dick, Star Trek's Brent Spiner, and "Stuttering" John Melendez (of the Howard Stern show), Dude is akin to Next Friday in its marijuana-inspired humor. I guess everything is funny when you're high. So remember that, all you stoners out there, when it comes out on video.

Copyright 2000 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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