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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 2.08%
Average: 39.58%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Rolling Kansas
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by EricDSnider

"Dude, I was totally smoking pot and I forgot what happened in this movie."
3 stars

(SCREENED AT THE 2003 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL) - You worry about a film with a narcoleptic character. Probably the only condition more often exploited in movies for easy laughs is Tourette's Syndrome.

"Rolling Kansas," a not unenjoyable little outing, has its share of easy laughs and too-familiar situations, and it lacks the heartfelt characters that could have made it a great comedy. But it has a certain wit and whimsy to it, and even when it's trying to push the envelope, it never seems to mean any offense. You can like this movie, even if you never care to see it again.

Somewhere in Kansas, we are told, is a vast government-owned marijuana farm. A map to this legendary place has been left to the Murphy brothers, children of hippies who were carted off to jail when the boys were wee.

The boys -- just-divorced Dick (James Roday), wheelchair-bound Dink (Sam Huntington) and non-descript Dave (Jay Paulson) -- leave middle Texas in a junker car to find and harvest some of this pot, with the intention of selling it, thus solving all of their various financial problems. (It is worth noting that in this stoner comedy, the stoners rarely indulge themselves in marijuana. Their interest in it seems to be more financial than recreational.)

Along for the ride are the brothers' friends Hunter (Ryan McDow), a hefty fellow who carries Dink around after his wheelchair is stolen; and Kevin (Charlie Finn), a dim, grinning young man with a knack for being unconcerned even in the most dire of circumstances. (When the five are sitting on the road while a state trooper pulls multiple beer cans out of their trunk, Kevin says, "I like your hat," and he means it.)

The script, by first-time writer David Denney, forgets that we have seen road-trip comedies before, and thus are no longer especially amused by car troubles, run-ins with the law, or encounters with animals. The script could use stronger focus, too. The objective seems to be to find the marijuana forest, but then that is achieved and the film still has 25 minutes left. These are matters of rising and falling action that should be straightened out in the first semester of film school.

The director is Thomas Haden Church, who played Lowell on TV's "Wings" and has two roles here, as a DEA agent and a cop. His skill is no more than proficient, and slightly less than that in the film's middle section, where the screenplay problems are not helped any by unimaginative direction.

And yet, the movie made me laugh quite a few times. Some of the lunacy is a bit forced, but some of it is truly inspired, as with Dick's account of his parents' commune being invaded, and Kevin's amusingly laidback road to self-awareness. Any movie that begins with a quote attributed to Thomas Edison stating that "somewhere out there is a big-ass forest of weed" cannot be all bad.

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originally posted: 01/29/03 08:34:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Never laughed so hard in my Life!! 5 stars
11/28/06 Benny Makes happy tears come to your eyes 5 stars
11/20/05 Yiffy Xcellent stoner movie, its no Half-Baked but a real good change. 4 stars
11/18/05 timm awsome movie love it!!!! 5 stars
10/01/05 Cortney Absolutely hillarious movie. I'm moving to Kansas now. 5 stars
9/26/05 JW fuckin a! 5 stars
9/05/05 meaghan haha i was totally baked when i watched this, it was an awesome movie. 5 stars
5/10/05 Zach Greatest movie about Kansas ever... easily replaces the wizard of oz 5 stars
5/06/05 mike bailey Loved this movie. Very funny stuff. I haven't smoked pot in nearly 2 years :) 5 stars
4/10/05 leann OMG! Sam Huntington is so fuckin funny! 5 stars
12/21/04 TJ fat as anything 5 stars
11/17/04 tammysara watched it twice - laughed like there was no tomorrow :) 5 stars
5/29/04 Justin Kicks Ass 5 stars
5/25/04 Tony p Sam Huntington rocked the screen. Kibby 5 stars
5/21/04 N.N.J. funny as hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/19/04 kay rocked...hard....grrrrreat movie 5 stars
5/17/04 Steve great movie. very funny 5 stars
9/10/03 Connie this movie fucking rocked- really really funny and charlie finn was awesome 5 stars
7/26/03 Emily I loved this movie! 5 stars
3/29/03 Ange Faitore Thomas Haden Church Is A God! 5 stars
3/04/03 James Hooper the movie is so funny and you will laugh out loud 5 stars
3/01/03 Emma I think it may make a little money....but I feel the movie Baby's Breath will the best. 3 stars
2/13/03 Faye Can't wait to own this one. Still laughing 5 stars
2/09/03 Dianne Gilliland Creative Writing 5 stars
2/06/03 James Dobson Da Bomb 5 stars
2/05/03 Adam Kainer Best Movie ever 5 stars
2/05/03 Mike Fagan great! 5 stars
2/05/03 Joe Man that was great! 5 stars
2/01/03 AVA HOW COOL. 5 stars
1/30/03 Vim Head This movie is hillarious. The begining is so perfect... 5 stars
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