Review

Grind Review

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Aug 15, 2003 | 1:04pm EDT

A cross between Road Trip and the documentary Dogtown and Z- Boys Grind is a simple enough tale about a boy and his dream as impossible as it may seem. Eric (Mike Vogel) wants to be a professional skateboarder. He and his best friends Dustin (Adam Brody) a cautious fellow who just wants to go to college and Matt (Vince Vieluf) a slacker who likes things to be just a little bit on the wacky side are pretty darn good at performing fierce boarding tricks but have had little luck in getting noticed by the pros. When skating legend Jimmy Wilson's (Jason London) skate demo tour hits town the boys see their chance but are immediately shot down by the tour manager. Determined Eric forms his own skate team to follow Wilson's tour cross-country and convinces an extremely reluctant Dustin to use his college fund as their bankroll. They also recruit laid-back ladies man Sweet Lou (Joey Kern) to join their crew and provide the wheels as team "Super Duper" sets out on an outrageous road trip from Chi-town to Santa Monica. Along the way they hook up with sexy skater chick Jamie (Jennifer Morrison) grind the handrails across America and make the skateboarding world take notice whether it wants to or not.

Honestly there really isn't much acting required for Grind. The guys just have to make sure the audience believe there is some kind of camaraderie between them--without embarrassing themselves too badly--and they succeed for the most part. Vogel (TV's Grounded For Life) Brody (TV's O.C.) and Kern (upcoming Cabin Fever) all seem fairly green to the world of movies but manage to convey a true friendship among their characters. Vieluf (Rat Race) however zings off the screen. Without him the movie would sorely lack any hilarity--his favorite thing to say after letting some noxious gas pass is "Greetings from the interior." Though his antics get a tad tiresome at times he still leaves you laughing your head off. Then there are the numerous cameos that populate Grind. Dave Foley and Stephen Root (TV's News Radio) show up as a road manager and a fast food manager respectively. Bobcat Goldthwait (what the heck happened to this guy?) plays a rank motel clerk while Tom Green (what movie wouldn't be complete without him?) plays a stoned skateboard store owner. Even Randy Quaid shows up as Matt's dad who has turned into a traveling circus clown (don't ask).

The main reason to see this film is to watch cool skateboarding action--and producer and first-time director Casey La Scala certainly doesn't disappoint. The drawback is you have to wait until the end to see the really good stunts. In the final climactic scene Eric finally gets to show his moves and prove himself worthy when he is challenged in a skating duel against an obnoxious rival (Chad Fernandez) who has been dogging him all along the trip. It's wild and wooly stuff and with the pounding soundtrack it makes for a truly exhilarating MTV moment. Of course the rest of the film surely isn't going be considered classic in any way. Road Trip and others of its ilk have covered the same territory much better. But there's hope. Grind's got a decent cast some pretty funny moments hot babes great music and an extreme sport worthy of recognition. It's all about the grind dude.

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