09th Apr2013

‘Nature Calls’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Maura Tierney, Patton Oswalt, Rob Riggle, Patrice O’Neal, Darrell Hammond | Written and Directed by Todd Rohal

Nature-Calls-Patton

Todd Rohal follows up his bizarre offbeat comedy The Catechism Cataclysm with another offbeat comedy in Nature Calls, which features an all-star cast including Johnny Knoxville, Maura Tierney and Patton Oswalt and tells the story of polar-opposite brothers Randy and Kirk who’ve never seen eye to eye. Randy is the assistant leader of his elderly father’s Boy Scout troop whilst Kirk loves his modern conveniences and his dozen TVs.

When Kirk (Knoxville) decides to have some of the boy scouts over for a slumber party ruining a pre-planned boyscout outing in a parking lot, Randy “kidnaps” the boys from Kirk’s to take them on camping trip to a restricted area in a local state park. Understandably, the kids parents don’t take so kindly to the news that their kids have gone missing.

Seemingly a throwback to 80s comedies such as The Great Outdoors and The Wrong Guys, Nature Calls plays out like those films meet Judd Apatow/David Gordon Green grossout comedy – complete with vulgar humour, from both the adult and child cast; some very near-the-knuckle, and often juvenile, jokes; and a bizarre mean streak that sees and old man blown to pieces and young boys chase naked woman around a forest shouting about breasts. You’d think that with some fantastic comedy actors, including Patton Oswalt, Rob Riggle and Johnny Knoxville, Nature Calls would at least provide laugh-a-minute comedy, however despite all those positives the film suffers from that most deadly of comedy movie diseases…

It’s just plain dull.

Perhaps its because we’ve seen it all before, or perhaps its because the film is too mean-spirited to be funny, but Nature Calls misses way more than it hits. And despite being influenced by the likes of Judd Apatow and David Gordon Green, the film doesn’t feature the same likeable characters that are present in the likes of Pineapple Express or The 41 Year Old Virgin, not even in it’s foul-mouthed child cast.

Nature Calls is available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in the US now. No news on a UK release as yet.

** 2/5

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