Grind

on August 15, 2003 by Paul Clinton
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Failing to follow through on the inherent edginess of its hip skateboarding milieu, "Grind" doesn't offer much more than another conventional star-is-born storyline. High school grad and dreamer Eric (Mike Vogel) is looking to set the skate world on fire, and talks straight-arrow Dustin (Adam Brody) and spastic Matt (Vince Vieluf) into taking their boarding on the road to get noticed. They bring lothario Sweet Lou (Joey Kern), who has the wheels to get them from Chicago to California.

As in the superior "Road Trip," the pals travel cross-country with a slew of adolescent locker-room jokes thrown at the wall. You may catch a few one-liner giggles at "Grind," but long stretches pass with no laughs. Brody (TV's "The O.C.") gives the best line readings; his off-beat style is welcome. But Vieluf seems to be trying on a Jim Carrey routine, which lands with an off-putting thud. Someone needs to stick a smelly sock in his mouth.

Also unimpressive are the skating scenes, which should have been "Grind's" top selling point with the boarding crowd. Nothing here rivals ESPN's coverage of the X-Games or surpasses your basic dime-a-dozen skate video. The finale takes place on a half-pipe (or vert, in the skate lingo) and is especially limp.

A handful of recognizable faces make hit-and-miss cameos in the picture: Tom Green as a Rasta skate-shop worker; a brilliantly shiftless Bobcat Goldthwait, doing a show-stopping couch-skating stunt; and Randy Quaid as Matt's clown dad. Starring Mike Vogel, Vince Vieluf and Adam Brody. Directed by Casey La Scala. Written by Ralph Sall. Produced by Bill Gerber, Casey La Scala and Hunt Lowry. A Warner Bros. release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual content and language. Running time: 103 min

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