Road Trip begins with MTV comic Tom Green as a college tour guide who relates the story of how his campus buddy, Josh (Breckin Meyer), mistakenly thought his girlfriend in Austin, Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard), had dumped him; how Josh turned to another woman, Beth (Amy Smart), for comfort; and how Josh accidentally mailed Tiffany a videotape of his adulterous indiscretion after he discovered that Tiffany was still in love with him after all. Most of Road Trip takes place on the road to Austin, as Josh and his college friends set off from the University of Ithaca to get back the tape before Tiffany sees it. Along the way, the boys learn a few things about life and themselves.
Co-writer Todd Phillips also directed this farce, which pays homage to Animal House but manages to turn similar material into something sickening and offensive. The selfish, unlikeable characters include the hero who cheats on his girlfriend, his friend who steals a bus from a school for the blind to make the journey to Austin, another friend who boasts about how the world needs his genius (he says things like 'Socrates was the Vince McMahon of philosophy'), and Green's character, a slacker who loves to torture animals. (Thankfully, the end credits promise, 'Scenes which may appear to place an animal in jeopardy were simulated'; unfortunately, smart viewers won't stick around long enough to read this.)
A TV clip of the late Bob Ross, the famed painting instructor, suggests the paint-by-numbers approach of this teen campus comedy. Everything's here: the crude sex and bathroom humor, the loud rock music, the party scenes, the topless women, and the plugs for youthful consumer-culture products (Sony camcorders, Blockbuster videos, eBay). But Road Trip is actually quite a bit worse than the standard youth pic in the way it looks down on the un-hip characters and grosses out the audience at the same time. In a typical scene, a waiter removes the powdered sugar from a 'nerd's' order of French toast by licking it off, then stuffing the slices of bread down his pants. (Of course, the 'nerd' eats the food-and likes it!) Granted, what is considered funny is very personal, but Road Trip will be a journey to hell for many.