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"MEET THE DEEDLES"
(1998) (Steve Van Wormer, Paul Walker) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*Minor *Minor Moderate Minor Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None *Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
*Mild None None Minor Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Children's/Comedy: Two surfer dudes pretend to be rookie park rangers in Yellowstone National Park.
PLOT:
Stew (STEVE VAN WORMER) and Phil Deedle (PAUL WALKER) are twin surfer brothers who've just been expelled from school for being truant on their eighteenth birthday. Their successful and wealthy father, Elton (ERIC BRAEDEN), decides to send them far away from the shores of Hawaii to a Wyoming camp where they'll learn to become responsible young men.

A series of mishaps, however, eventually causes Captain Pine (JOHN ASHTON) from Yellowstone Park to mistake them for Mo (MEGAN CAVANAGH) and Mel (ANA GASTEYER), two female park ranger recruits, who are on their way to take care of a prairie dog infestation. Stew and Phil decide to go along with the ruse so as not to disappoint their father, but also do so after meeting Jessie Ryan (A.J. LANGER), an attractive park ranger and, unbeknownst to them, Pine's stepdaughter.

Meanwhile, beneath the acres of majestic Yellowstone, Frank Slater (DENNIS HOPPER), a former and now deranged park ranger, is working with his subordinates, Nemo (ROBERT ENGLUND) and Crabbe (RICHARD LINEBACK) to reroute Old Faithful, the famous geyser, onto his land on its billionth birthday. As the Deedle brothers continue to train as park rangers and try to figure out what to do with the prairie dogs, they must contend not only with Slater and his men, but also the pending arrival of Mo and Mel who will most certainly expose the brothers as frauds.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Obviously aimed at kids, some of them (particularly preteens) might want to see it, but there are no well-known names or plot to draw them.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
The reason was not available, but we'd guess it was for language, some scatological humor, and brief sexual innunendo.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PAUL WALKER and STEVE VAN WORMER play the two twin surfer brothers who look at life with a laid back, have fun attitude. They do lie about their identities, but do save the day in the end.
  • JOHN ASHTON plays the stereotypical, tough boss with a warm heart underneath his tough exterior.
  • A.J. LANGER plays a devoted park ranger who falls for one of the brothers.
  • DENNIS HOPPER plays the villain who wants to reroute Old Faithful as payback for being fired years earlier.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    The buffoon or fool character has long been a favorite of moviegoers both young and old. They appeal to the kid in all of us for acting in ways which as responsible, upstanding, law-abiding adults we can't, without looking foolish, injuring ourselves, or getting arrested. Kids in particular like them because well, because those "adults" act just like them, but in bigger, more exaggerated ways.

    From Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura to Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli character in 1982's "Fast Times At Ridgemont High, to Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) in 1979's "The Jerk," and ranging from Ernest ("Hey Vern") to Keanu Reeves' character, Ted "Theodore" Logan in 1989's "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," audiences have embarrassedly delighted in watching the big screen fool. To continue that tradition and coming from the studio that brought us Goofy, we now have the Deedle brothers. You might be asking yourself, exactly who are the Deedle's again? Well, they're Disney's latest attempt at making a live action kids' movie. Think of them as "Bill & Ted Lite."

    Behaving and speaking much like their time-traveling cousins or Mr. Spicoli, these are surfer dudes, you know tanned, blond, and dimwitted, perhaps from too many waves crashing upon their heads. But enough about the filmmakers, let's talk about the actors. Seriously, though, the people behind the camera must have had some sort of mental incapacity as they've delivered a pretty bad movie, even taking into account the audience at which it's so obviously aimed. Sure, the younger kids probably won't mind being bombarded by the inane material, but anyone over the age of sixteen might just lose some brain cells from being exposed to this film.

    First-time director Steve Boyum (a former cinematographer and second unit director) and screenwriter Jim Herzfeld ("Tapeheads," "Jungle Book II") have fashioned a plot that even the Deedles themselves would be embarrassed to have written. It just goes to show that it's apparently very difficult nowadays to make a live-action film that will please both kids and their parents. For every "George Of The Jungle" and "The Borrowers" there are hordes of films like Disney's recent "Krippendorf's Tribe," "That Darn Cat," "Mr. Magoo," and now this film that might entertain kids, but very few adults.

    Okay, this movie does have a few moments and the actors inhabiting the twin brothers Steve Van Wormer and Paul Walker have a certain playfully dimwitted charisma that somewhat works to their advantage. Yet while they're mildly likeable in a goofy fashion, there's nothing that sets them apart from standard-issue lame brain characters. Their "Deedle-speak" has no memorable catch phrases and the Deedles themselves aren't interesting enough to be remembered long after leaving the theater, let alone as prime examples of the fool character.

    If you find humor from them commenting on seeing mainland wildlife for the first time and saying, "A Bullwinkle" (moose), a Bambi (deer), a dead Pepe le Pew (skunk road kill)," then you might not mind this movie. Of course then you'd have to accept them surfing (yes, on surfboards) down a Yellowstone river in a scene that rivals the absurdly ludicrous one from "Escape from L.A." where Kurt Russell and pre-"Ulee's Gold" Peter Fonda surf a tidal wave. Beyond being particulary stupid, the effects are horribly done and while kids might think it looks cool, adults will think it looks completely fake.

    Oh, and in case you were concerned that they might have left it out, the obligatory scatological humor (farting, etc...) is present and includes a (SARCASM ALERT!) hilarious bit where an experimental gas causes a busload of people to have intestinal problems along with a flock of birds that just can't hold it in and....well, you get the picture.

    There is plenty of mayhem -- from trucks crashing through guardrails and careening down mountainous hills to the "evil" doings of the stereotypical villain and his henchmen -- to viscerally stimulate the kids. Yet it's played on about the lowest level imaginable with no attempt at presenting a decent plot, and other material is simply thrown into the mix without much thought. For example, the brothers cause a circus truck that's carrying a lion, bear and elephant lose in the back without any apparent need to have them separated or restrained to crash that results in those animals being on the loose. While that might have introduced some comic possibilities, the material the filmmakers try to milk out of it falls flat.

    Likewise, for a film that focuses a great deal of attention on an infestation of prairie dogs, it completely under uses the fun and comic potential of the little critters. Unlike "Caddyshack" that presented a similar subplot with funny results (Bill Murray's character trying to rid a golf course of a troublesome gopher), this film only includes a few scenes of a mass "stampede" of the prairie dogs for comic effect. Aimed at kids, one would have thought there would be more humorous scenes involving them.

    Instead, the film focuses on the villainous character played by Dennis Hopper whose inane plan to "steal" Old Faithful is neither menacing nor funny. Essentially playing just a toned down version of his mad bomber character from "Speed," Hopper seems as if he's sleepwalking through what's now becoming his stereotypically deranged character role. Curiously, he answers the phone crossing it over his body to the opposite ear from the hand that's holding it just like he did in "Speed," although for no apparent reason (In that movie it was due to a missing thumb. Here there's no explanation).

    There's also no good explanation about why this film was ever made, other than that the Big Mouse studio was hoping to make some quick bucks and possibly a franchise out of the two surfer dudes. Disney used to be the studio that brought us great animated features (of which they still do) and goofy, but fun live action features that parents and kids could enjoy together. Except for "George of the Jungle" (that now seems to have been a lark), they've been striking out nearly every time and this will be yet another dismal failure on their part. We think you should do anything but "Meet the Deedles," and thus give the film a weak 2 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Kids may like this film, but most parents and other adults will probably find it difficult to sit through without an overabundance of eye-rolling and shifting in one's seat. Besides the standard goofy mayhem usually found in such movies, two things stand out for appearing in a PG rated film (aimed at younger kids). First, there is some sexual innuendo that will probably go over most kids' heads, but should hit parents squarely between the eyes. After we see two characters briefly (but sensuously) kiss while standing in a hot spring (with her dressed in a skimpy bikini and him having just taken his shirt off), the scene is immediately followed by a shot of an erupting geyser. While it's possible that the sequence was unintentional, it sure looks like an adult sexual "joke" (ie. Like when other films show rockets taking off or flowers opening up, etc... to "comically" suggest sex).

    The other element is a very brief scene where Slater holds a large hunting knife to Stew's throat. While we're used to seeing some violence in kids' movies, and have even occasionally seen the throat slitting gesture that Slater later gives in the story, the knife to the throat seems pretty extreme for a film like this. Beyond that, there's the standard plethora of imitative phrases and behaviors kids might pick up on, as well as the obligatory scatological humor, etc... Since younger kids will probably want to see this, we suggest that you look through the content first to determine whether it's appropriate.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The brothers make tropical drinks called "Hulas," but it isn't certain if they're alcoholic (although they do flare up when exposed to a flame, suggesting that they do contain alcohol). We later see these drinks at a hula party, and Elton drinks one at the end.
  • Slater and his men celebrate with champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • While neither bloody nor gory, a gas the brothers have concocted causes prairie dogs and then a busload of people to have major intestinal problems and fart (that we hear), and for a flock of birds to have diarrhea on Pine. Staying on the subject matter, in a later scene Phil asks Jessie, "Do you want to cut one?" She then looks at him and he says, "A rug" (a dance).
  • Jessie, thinking that Phil believes she won't eat real worms, digs up several real ones and eats them raw, as does Phil.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Deedle brothers skip school on their birthday, and have a lackadaisical attitude toward life and responsibilities.
  • The brothers refer to women as "chicks" a few times.
  • Slater and his men have both as they plan to divert Old Faithful for spite, and for their own profit. Along the way, they try to kill, or threaten to kill, the brothers (in a buffoonish type of way). In one scene, Crabbe goes under Phil and Stew's jeep and cuts their brake line before they head down a steep mountain.
  • Phil and Stew lie about being Mo and Mel and continue the ruse until the women finally show up and bust them.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Nemo and Crabbe fire rifles at Pine's helicopter, causing him to fall out and into the river below him. Phil and Stew then "surf" the river and grab him, but then realize there's an approaching waterfall. They all just manage to get out before tumbling over it (played more for adventure than suspense, but some kids may find it tense).
  • Some kids may find the ending, where the bad guys try to attack the brothers who then try to get out of the underground area while everything shakes and begins to fall down (as the geyser is about to blow) as a little tense, but most of it's played more for adventure than suspense.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles: Fired by Nemo and Crabbe at Pine's helicopter, causing him to fall out and into the river below him.
  • Crossbows: Aimed by Nemo and Crabbe toward Phil and Stew (who don't realize this), but they don't get the chance to fire them.
  • Large hunting knife: Held by Nemo at Stew's neck (who's unconscious at the moment) as if he's going to slit his throat, and later used to threaten Stew and Phil.
  • Explosives: Several explosions rip through the ground as Slater and his men have replaced cherry bombs with real explosives (no one is hurt).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Fart," "Scam-meister," "Scumbag," "Shut up," "Screwed up," "Frosticular" (a reference to landing in cold water), "Nut brain," "Chicks" (for women), "We don't know squat," "Screw up," "Geezer," "Blow hard" (noun), "Booger," "This bites," "Idiots," "Cork it," "Sucks," "Losers," "Bums," "It's so diculous it's ridiculous," "Butthead," "Heinous anus," and "Jerk."
  • There are several scenes where trucks blast through guardrails and careen down hills or fly through the air that are all made to look like fun (including one where the brothers and a camp manager fly from the truck and land in a river).
  • The brothers skateboard down a steep mountain road standing up, lying on their backs, and sitting facing each other as they cross the double yellow line, swerve around oncoming traffic (and underneath a truck), and generally make it look like a lot of safe fun (other then at the very end when they crash into a sign at the bottom).
  • A nurse grabs Phil and Stew by their lips to get their attention.
  • One of the brothers tells the other, "grab my finger," and then farts when he does.
  • Jessie, thinking that Phil believes she won't eat real worms, digs up several real ones and eats them raw, as does Phil.
  • Crabbe goes under Phil and Stew's jeep and cuts their brake line before they head down a steep mountain.
  • Phil and Stew run up to each other and bang chests (like giving each other "five" but with their chests).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's some odd, but not quite scary music in the opening credits as we see footage from underneath the rolling waves on the beach.
  • Some minor suspenseful music plays in a few other scenes during the movie.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 3 damns, 2 hells, and 1 use each of "God," "Oh God," and "My God" as exclamations.
  • Nemo can partially read lips, and when reading what Pine is telling the brothers he translates it as "sheet for brains" (instead of the real use of the "s" word).
  • Pine tells the brothers to "cut the bull..."
  • One of the brothers mentions that something is "so diculous it's ridiculous" (playing off the word "d*ck").
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • There are a few brief glimpses of women in bikinis, including Jessie who wears a skimpy, high cut one that shows the bare side of her butt.
  • After a deranged man tells Phil and Stew about surviving off the elements and fashioning a "squirrel jockstrap," a dual reference to "nuts" is made.
  • There are a few references to the brothers wearing Mo and Mel's underwear (that they put on after their own clothes got wet).
  • Phil and Stew notice they're not wearing any clothing under their hospital gowns (they're both under their sheets) and a nurse then says that they don't have a nick (injury) on them, as she has looked over both of them.
  • Phil comments about Jessie by saying that he'd love "to be a deedle in her haystack" and there's a brief mention of "getting booty" while Stew calls Phil a "horn dog." Later, Phil tells Jessie "I totally crave your wave."
  • Jessie undresses down to a bikini, Phil takes his shirt off, and they get into a hot spring and briefly, but sensuously kiss. The scene then immediately cuts to a geyser erupting (some heavy innuendo).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • That "lazy," unmotivated teens (like Stew and Phil) usually don't get to save the day and turn out to be the heroes in real life.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Stew and Phil knock a "school cop" on a jet ski into the water as they parasail down onto him.
  • A camp manager loses control of his truck and it careens down a hill and runs over Mo and Mel's campsite.
  • Phil and Stew crash into a sign while sitting on their skateboards.
  • A nurse grabs Phil and Stew by their lips to get their attention.
  • Nemo and Crabbe prepare to shoot Phil and Stew with a crossbow (who are unaware of this), but are interrupted before they can.
  • A kid throws a rock and hits a guy in a bear suit.
  • Nemo and Crabbe fires rifles at a helicopter, causing Pine to fall from it into the river below him.
  • Nemo holds a large hunting knife to Stew's throat as if he's going to slice him open, but then stops when he finds a "better" alternative.
  • Several explosions rip through the ground as Slater and his men have replaced cherry bombs with real explosives (no one is hurt).
  • A truck quickly backs up and stops, sending Phil, Stew and their gear sailing through the air and down a hill.
  • A truck careens down a hill and crashes into several trees (seen from a distance with no apparent injuries).
  • Nemo and Crabbe grab Phil and Stew and moments later Slater gives his men the "slitting throat" gesture indicating his wishes for the brothers. The four then briefly struggle (and Nemo has his large hunting knife) until the two bad guys knock each other to the floor.
  • An exploding water tank knocks Slater and the brothers to the floor. The bad guy then tries to impale Stew with a large harpoon-like object, but is knocked out by a falling object before he can.



  • Reviewed March 21, 1998

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