SXSW Review: NATURE CALLS

By Mark Saldana

Written and directed by Todd Rohal and starring Patton Oswalt, Johnny Knoxville, and Robert Riggle, this film takes a highly irreverent look at sibling rivalry and the merits of the Scouting program.  As someone who spent most of his childhood in the Boy Scouts, I really appreciate the message attempted by this movie; however, much like BABYMAKERS, this film seems to go more for shocks than for genuine humor.  I will admit that I did laugh several times during the picture; however, I found myself feeling increasingly irritated by some of the scenes with Knoxville and Riggle acting way over-the-top.

Oswalt portrays Randy Stevens, an assistant Scoutmaster who feels troubled by the latest trends among the youth of America.  As a kid Randy’s father, also a Scoutmaster had a major impact on his life teaching him camping skills, first aid, and how to truly embrace nature.  He sees children today with their faces glued to TV’s, mobile phones, and continuously seated indoors and is tired of it.   Randy and his fellow scoutmasters kidnap the kids at his nephew’s birthday party and take them on a camping trip to share the Scouting legacy with them.  Randy’s brother Kirk (Knoxville), his security guard (Riggle), and a concerned father (the late Patrice O’Neal) frantically seek them out and try to “rescue” the kids.

This is clearly another film which will find a fan base, but won’t appeal to everyone’s tastes.  Like I previously stated, the movie has its comedic moments; however, the over-the-top scenes with Riggle and Knoxville really killed it for me.

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