Picks and Pans Review: Up the Creek

updated 05/07/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/07/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Is it worse to be up a creek without a paddle or up a movie without a script? Neither prospect is particularly scintillating, as this collegiate comedy demonstrates. It's another of those grubby-good-guy student vs. snobby-bad-guy student setups, centering in this case on a rubber raft race. The main competitors are four-man teams from a military academy (they blunder), an elitist school (they cheat), a low-class college known as "Lobotomy U" (they drink a lot but are endearing), and an all-girl school (they stick out their chests). The heroes are the Lobotomy team, headed by Tim (To Be or Not to Be) Matheson, who at 36 is far too old and talented to be wasting his time like this. His low-key, hypercool style is appealing: He's like Chevy Chase without the grating edge. But the script by Jim Kouf depends for amusement on the men overimbibing and the women underdressing. The best thing director Robert Butler did was to use a lot of white-water footage, shot on Oregon's Deschutes River. Other than that, there's not much flow to go with. (R)

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