Maybe we're all getting desensitised to it, but the gross-out comedy of yesteryear somehow doesn't seem quite so funny or shocking any more. Twenty years ago, a grown woman cramming her sensual fingers up a teenager's arse would have provoked lynch mobs to riot outside cinemas. Now it's not only deemed suitable material for a teen comedy, but is actually one of the lamer bits. Don't get us wrong: certain audiences will be spraying Sprite out of their nostrils at this, the fat chick shagging the skinny bloke and the pensioner with a boner. But there'll be as many people thinking it's all a bit forced.
Thankfully though, there's more to Road Trip than grossness. For unlike There's Something About Mary, which, let's face it, was pretty flat when it wasn't being all-out hilarious, the entertainment superhighway down which Road Trip cruises is less hilly. Sure, its comedy peaks aren't as mountainous as the hair gel scene, but at the same time its deep, plunging valleys are few and far between.
The undeniable star is Tom Green, who's either loved or hated by MTV viewers, and unknown to anyone else. For Road Trip he uses his TV persona (15 per cent imbecile, 55 per cent stalker, 30 per cent tyrant) to captivate a tour group as he guides it around campus. He's the all-too infrequent link with the rest of the film, which becomes a lurid tale of his best student experience, as the guys head for Texas. And Green uses a reptile and a mouse for things which defy description.
Apart from the boys looking like actors playing students, the dialogue is crisp, the pace is good and the scenery pretty; hanging with this lot is fairly entertaining. So, however faint all this praise sounds, Road Trip is still worth watching. It won't blow your socks off and, Tom Green aside, it won't be remembered much past the foyer. But in the cash-for-ticket/entertainment equation, it all balances out.