If Abbott and Costello were modern-day comics just launching their film careers, would they be this dumb? Would the Marx Brothers stoop to doing drug-infested, sex-infused farces just so they could make a few box-office bucks? Would Laurel and Hardy fondle women’s breasts, look up ladies’ skirts and fantasize about oral sex?At a time when morality was black and white—and so were the movies—these classic slapstickers offered the world scene after scene of clean, knee-slapping comedy. Dude, Where's My Car? presents only one such scene—and it’s borrowed in part from Abbott and Costello’s "Who’s on First" routine. I might have even laughed out loud when it rolled across the screen, but alas, I had already seen it so many times in commercials for the film, that all I could manage was a wan smile. That smile quickly deteriorated into a grimace when it occurred to me that even that one wacky scene relied on a setup of drug-abuse and sexual indiscretion.
Jesse (played by TV’s That '70s Show star Ashton Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott of American Pie and Road Trip fame) are devoted stoners who have only two missions in life: get high and have sex—preferably at the same time. After a particularly rambunctious night, the two young adults wake up to discover that they’ve misplaced their car. And they can’t even remember how. But that’s only the tip of their waking nightmare. It seems that during their wild night of partying, they frequented a strip club, carried out a drug deal, stumbled onto a transsexual’s briefcase full of money, destroyed their girlfriends’ house and even hung out with aliens. Dude, where’s my brain?
positive elements: None. Jesse and Chester don’t even mend fences with their girlfriends for the right reasons; they just want the girls’ "special treats."
spiritual content: A cult-like group of alien enthusiasts wants to travel into space to get away from their troubles here on earth. There’s a joke about calling the Dalai Lama "a fag."
sexual content: Christie Boner is the object of Jesse and Chester’s lust, even though the two boys both have girlfriends. It seems as though everything that moves is a target for below-the-belt humor. Even Christie’s last name is abused in a sexual context. It’s intimated that during his "black-out" period, Jesse had a sexual rendezvous with Christie. She tries to remind him of their tryst by putting his hand on her breast and letting him stroke her chest. She tells the guys that they gave her $500 to show them her "hoo-hoos." Jesse and Chester then visit a strip club where they presumably spent quite a bit of time the night before, seeing as how the bikini-clad dancers greet them enthusiastically. While at the club, a line of girls wearing T-shirts all pour water over their bodies in a stylized wet T-shirt contest. One dancer comes over and wants to know if Jesse remembers the "super slippery wet lap dance" she gave him the night before. He doesn’t. Neither does he know that she is a he. The transsexual dancer fills him in on the details by lifting up his dress and showing off his bulging underwear. Subsequent scenes brazenly feature scantily-clad women, crass sexual dialogue and vulgar images. Preoccupation with oral sex consumes many of them. Dude even stoops so low as to show a young blind boy who fondles a woman, then runs off, presumably to masturbate. Jesse and Chester kiss each other on a self-imposed dare. They are also shown wearing only underwear. When a group of supermodel-looking aliens morph into a single giant woman (think Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), a small child tells his dad that he wants to go for a ride on the giant. His father, transfixed by the woman’s exposed panties, responds, "Me too, son. Me too!"
violent content: Jesse and Chester are both hit by cars as they try to hitch a ride (during a sequence of outtakes shown while the credits roll, the old woman who hit Chester is run down as well). Confrontations turn violent a few times. The transsexual grabs Jesse and pushes him down. Jesse and Chester’s girlfriends throw them out of the house. A cult member zaps the guys with a stun gun. Chester slaps Jesse. Jesse hits Chester. A group of bullies beat up Jesse and Chester’s friend Nelson. A blind kid hits an adult in the crotch with a baseball bat (a sexual joke accompanies this). To escape the cult members’ hideout, Jesse hits two guys over the head with a fire extinguisher. The giant female alien swallows a man whole. Obviously everything violent in Dude, Where's My Car? is played for laughs. None of it is serious even for a moment. The Three Stooges did it better, but Dude’s violence falls into that same category of slapstick.
crude or profane language: One f-word and about two dozen rude, crude and socially unacceptable uses of slang terms and mild swear words. The s-word crops up in the lyrics of a closing song. The elderly woman who gets run over (also during the credits) flashes an obscene hand gesture at the guys.
drug and alcohol content: Even the dog smokes weed. The entire plot revolves around getting stoned. Jesse and Chester are so hooked on illicit drugs that they’ve given themselves the nicknames "Johnny Pot Smoker" and "Smoking the Pot." Shibby (a slang term for marijuana possibly concocted for this movie) is the guys’ favorite word; it’s even used on their vanity license plate. Alcohol and cigarettes appear in supporting roles
other negative content: A bit player does nothing more than enter Jesse and Chester’s living room and urinate into a potted plant—twice. One joke disparages Canadians. Song lyrics express a singer’s dream of living like a porn star.
conclusion: Obviously Dude, Where's My Car? has much more in common with Dumb and Dumber and Beavis & Butt-head than it does with The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy. It glamorizes sexual preoccupation, senseless violence and illicit drug use (it would take a severely disjointed case of circular logic to read any anti-drug messages into Jesse and Chester’s weed-crazed existence). The film concludes with Jesse and Chester giving their girlfriends gifts from the aliens. The gifts are magical necklaces that cause the girls’ breasts to swell up. Jesse and Chester grin devilishly and call out together, "Sweet!" Au contraire. Sour doesn’t even begin to do it justice.