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Without a Paddle (2004)


Ten years after graduating from high school, three friends, Jerry (Matthew Lillard), Dan (Seth Green) and Tom (Dax Shepard) find out 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 when they were children. They also remember their past with their posters and collectibles. Jerry discovers a treasure chest under Billy’s bed. Inside, they find a map leading to D. B. Cooper’s lost treasure that Billy has apparently been working on his whole life. 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 discover they forgot to bring food, so Tom goes out to catch some fish using his shining skills. Then a grizzly bear shows up and chases the group away. Dan trips and is caught up with by the bear, who thinks Dan is its cub. It brings Dan back 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 ripped up and completely 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.

The trio takes off in 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 end up falling off a waterfall, but landing safely in a belly of water. 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, 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, causing a bunch of smoke to wallow around and get the trio effectively stoned. While the farmers, wearing bandannas over their faces, are on their tail, the guys fall into a pond and barely escape, using reeds to breathe. The farmers take off, and the guys then run into the woods. In the morning, the farmers find their crop burned and they set off to kill Jerry, Dan and Tom.

The trio meets two hippie girls far into the forest; the girls live in their huge tree they call “Earthchild”. The guys look at the girls from below commenting that they can see their “downstairs”. The girls say their names are Flower and Butterfly, they treat the men with food and massages. Jerry uses the girl’s radio to contact help. Using their own radio, along with the vocal guise of a forest ranger, the 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 guys escape. Half naked, the guys are lost into the woods, while it is pouring rain. The only way they have to survive is to hold on to each other for warmth. Suddenly, they are caught by a man living up in the mountains, who takes the them up to his hut and provides them with clothes. The man is named Del Knox (Burt Reynolds), once D. B.’s partner before his death.

The next morning, the farmers find them and assault the house. The guys escape while Del Knox shoots at the two bad guys with his revolver. The guys stumble upon the site in which D. B. crashed landed, discovering his corpse along with the suitcase holding the money. It turns out that D. B. burned his share of the money, just for warmth and a few more minutes of life. They then toss their valuable possessions on his body, including Dan’s C-3PO action figure, Jerry’s Brian Bosworth card, and Tom’s first rubber. 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. Eventually, a sheriff (who actually helped Dan, Tom and Jerry in the beginning) 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, flips off the pin but accidentally drops it. Moments before it blows, he throws it towards the bad guys; it explodes, causing a tree to fall on the farmers and sheriff. The three bad guys are arrested afterwards.

In the end, Jerry, Dan and Tom are given half of the remaining money from D. B. Cooper’s partner. Jerry proposes to his girlfriend, Dan starts a relationship with Butterfly, and Tom is a camp counselor for a children’s summer camp, who ends up telling his troop all about the camping trip. When he asks if the kids have any questions one boy puts his hand up and asks, “What’s a downstairs?”


Official Sites:

Paramount [United States] |





Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA)

Also Known As:

Jusqu’au cou

Filming Locations:

Huka Falls, Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand

Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,528,946 (USA) (22 August 2004) (2730 Screens)


$58,156,435 (USA) (9 January 2005)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures, De Line Pictures

Technical Specs


95 min

Sound Mix:

DTS  | Dolby Digital

Did You Know?

This movie is the first to qualify for the New Zealand Government’s “Large Budget Grants Scheme” where the film-makers will receive up to 12.5% of their production budget back.

Most of the outdoor camping scenes were shot inside a very large warehouse.

D.B. Cooper was the name that reporters gave to a man who, in 1971, hijacked an airliner, extorted $200,000 from its owner (Northwest Orient), and parachuted off the airborne plane with 21 pounds of $20 bills strapped to his body. He was never caught, and it is generally assumed that he did not survive his parachute landing.

The last big rapid that they run before going over the waterfall is a Class 5 rapid, and the scene was performed by stunt doubles since running rapids in a canoe is dangerous and unusual.

Dax Shepard, Seth Green, and Matthew Lillard all did a majority of their own stunts.



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