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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 Chris Parry

"An inspired first half. A very ordinary second."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Some of the best comedy openings in history have been ruined by introducing an unnecessarily complex and strained storyline that interfered with our laughter. Rolling Kansas has an absolutely drop your pants hilarious opening first half hour. It's so funny that you will honestly guffaw. The characters are magic. The dialogue, twisted and insane and perfect. The timing, fabulous. But then the storyline kicks in and, sadly, everything goes to hell. Well, maybe not hell... but a place very warm. And red. And Satan is there. Okay, it's hell.

Most of us, if we allow ourselves to admit it, are geeks. We suck. We're unfashionable, our friends are idiots, we don't get laid nearly enough, and our favorite Moonlighting character was played by Curtis Armstrong. The heroes in this 'road trip for dope' comedy are also geeks, only perhaps geeks of a higher level. These are like black belt geeks whereas I'd be a green belt. Maybe white.

First we have Dick (Charlie Finn). The leader of the pack and older brother to Dave and Dink, Dick is a place where cool fears to tread. He's just broken up with his longtime girlfriend, he's got no prospects, and his friends and brothers are utter goofballs. They consist of:

Dave - a heavy metal T-shirt wearing drug dealer.
Dink - a paraplegic with the temper of a hornet on LSD.
Hunter - a gigantic narcoleptic who carries Dink around.
Kevin - the man who can not frown. Or think. And he thinks he's gay. Yep, he's pretty sure he's gay.

Dick Dave and Dink are a little messed up about the fact that their parents ran away when they were kids, that is until one of them recalls that in actual fact they were chased away by cops when they discovered a hidden jungle of experimental government marijuana. With the help of a map from their folks, the lads decide to get a car and go search out the hidden crop, with a view to earning bulk riches.

And that's where things get a little skewiff. Sure, there's nothing wrong with the road trip element of the flick, in fact these characters all take turns in being a comedic highlight along the way, but when actor-turned-director Thomas Haden Church (Wings, Ned and Stacey) decides to introduce himself into the fray (twice) as a cop, then a law enforcement agent, the focal point of this happy little misadventure is lost. Kevin Pollack doesn't help things in his government agent cameo, nor does Rip Torn as an old hippie who knows where the weed is, and the constant string of gay jokes is more frat house than geek-friendly.

Added to that, the ending of the film is rife with "ah, so that's who they're going to make it a happy ending" simplicity, thekind that you really can't see coming because it's a means of ending proceedings, not a natural conclusion. You know, like one of those "And then I won the lottery" endings that you see in a lot of first-time screenplays.

Ultimately Rolling Kansas is far from a disappointment. It's easy to dismiss it as a failure if you come in halfway and miss the sheer genius of the first act and the sweet nature of the characters, but the film does lose its way the longer it goes on and that's a pity because there's plenty here to like.

It'll rent well on video, and will undoubtedly play well on college campuses, but the critics will beat it to death if it hits the big screen. Like fellow Sundance midnight screening Super Troopers before it, Rolling Kansas is more a precursor of things to come than a milestone in itself.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/26/03 06:19:47
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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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