Without a Paddle

Without a Paddle Information

Without a Paddle is a 2004 comedy film about three reunited childhood friends going on a trip up a remote river in order to search for the loot of a long-lost airplane hijacker. The film stars Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, Dax Shepard, Ethan Suplee, Abraham Benrubi, Rachel Blanchard, and Burt Reynolds.

A direct-to-video spinoff, Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling, was released in January 2009.


Ten years after graduating from high school, three friends named Jerry (Matthew Lillard), Dan (Seth Green) and Tom (Dax Shepard) learn that their childhood friend, Billy (Antony Starr), died in a para-sailing accident in Costa Rica. After the funeral and burial, they take a trip down memory lane and enter their tree house, where the four hung out as children. They also remember their past with their posters and collectibles. Under Billy's bed, Jerry discovers a treasure chest containing a map leading to D. B. Cooper's lost treasure. The map is apparently the culmination of Billy's lifelong investigations. Dan takes a break from his job as a doctor and is forced to join Jerry and Tom on a camping trip to find the treasure.

They take a canoe down the river and find Grandpa's Nose (a rock formation), and they stay on the riverside for the night. Standing around the camp fire, they realize that they have not brought any food, so Tom goes out to catch some fish using his spotlighting skills. Then a grizzly bear shows up and chases the group away. Dan trips and is caught by the bear, who thinks Dan is its cub. It takes Dan to its 'nest' and forces him to eat a mutilated dead squirrel. Dan manages to escape and the trio ends up sleeping in a tree. In the morning, they find all their gear destroyed by the bear - even Dan's cellphone, which the animal swallowed. The bear, they find to their dismay, had also ripped a hole in the map.

They take to the river, but, unable to read the map, they go the wrong way. A fork in the river leads them into rapids where they are nearly killed. The map is lost, and they fall over a waterfall, but land safely in a pool. Unfortunately, their canoe has been smashed to pieces. They take off into the woods with a compass and find themselves at a pot farm, in which two violent farmers named Dennis (Abraham Benrubi) and Elwood (Ethan Suplee), mistake them for thieves and start shooting at them. The friends escape into the farm, but security flares go off and hit the growth, igniting it. The resulting smoke swirls around the trio, causing them to become stoned. In their pot-induced high, they see Billy's ghost who tells them that they are on the right path to find D.B. Cooper. While the farmers, wearing bandannas over their faces, are on their tail, the three fall into a pond and barely escape, using reeds to breathe. The farmers take off, and the friends escape into the woods. In the morning, the farmers find their crop burned and they set out with renewed determination to kill the friends.

Deep in the forest, the friends meet two hippie girls, who live in a huge tree. As they watch the girls from the ground, one man is amazed that from that angle they can see the girls' "downstairs". The girls introduce themselves to the friends as "Flower" (Rachel Blanchard) and "Butterfly" (Christina Moore). They provide the men with food and massages. Jerry uses the girls' radio to call for help which was the same radio that the hippie girls use to order for their supplies. The pot farmers also hear the distress call on their radio; using their radio and pretending to be forest rangers, the pot farmers find them and attempt to cut down the tree, both distressing and enraging the hippie girls. They drop paper bags full of feces at the farmers to distract them while the barely clad men escape into the forest, in a driving rain. Deep in the forest while taking refuge in a cave, they are caught by a mountain man who takes them to his hut and gives them clothing. The man, Del Knox (Burt Reynolds), was D. B. Cooper's partner before the aircraft hijacking.

The next morning, the farmers find them and assault the house. The friends escape while Knox fires his revolver at the attackers. In their flight, the friends stumble into the site where Cooper landed. They discover his corpse, along with the suitcase holding the money. They discover that Cooper burned the money in a vain attempt to keep warm. They toss their valuable possessions on his body including Dan's C-3PO action figure, Jerry's Brian Bosworth trading card, and Tom's first condom. The only way out of the cave is for Dan to crawl through a small tunnel. The farmers find Jerry and Tom below after following the sound of them singing "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," and Dan comes from the ground and hits them with a log. The farmers fall down and they engage in a brawl with Tom and Jerry just as Sheriff Briggs (Ray Barker) arrives. However, it is discovered that he was working with the pot farmers all along. The three are cornered when Jerry, who took one of the farmer's grenades, removes the pin but drops it. Moments before it blows, he throws it at the farmers and Sheriff Briggs. It explodes, causing a tree to fall directly on them and the three are arrested soon after. As the trio are being interviewed by police, they see Del in town who intends to give D.B. a proper burial and reveals that prior to his death, D.B. Cooper only burned his own share of the money. Del gives the boys D.B.'s parachute and the remaining money, Jerry and Dan decide to give Tom all of the money to pay his bills and start a new life. The film ends with Dan and Flower in a relationship while Jerry surprises Denise by proposing to her and Tom volunteers as a Scoutmaster where he recounts his wild adventure with his friends for his Boy Scout troop.



Although the film details an ill-prepared camping and canoe trip into the Oregon State wild, Without A Paddle was filmed in New Zealand to take advantage of tax rebates. Most of the outdoor camping scenes were shot inside a very large warehouse.


Without a Paddle received many negative reviews from the critics. Based on 122 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 15% of critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4/10.

Despite the film's negative reviews, it was a commercial success, grossing $58,169,327 in North American and $11,461,791 internationally, making its worldwide gross $69,631,118.

See also

  • D. B. Cooper in popular culture

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