The press materials for this movie explain that “grind” refers to a particularly spectacular skateboarding move. In my case, it referred to what my teeth were doing as I had to sit through this dumb and boring movie.
What a shame, because I was really up for a good skateboarding movie after last year’s wonderful documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys. But this wasn’t it.
Instead, “Grind” is a complete time-waster about four guys who hit the road in hopes of becoming professional skateboarders, and the characters are all straight from cliche-land. One is the guy with the dream. One is the obnoxious guy who never changes his clothes and talks about sex all the time even though he’s never had it. One is the risk-averse guy who just wants to save all his money for college. And one is the guy with the van who can get any lady he wants just by asking if she wants to make out with him.
They hit the road for all kinds of highly un-funny adventures involving gross-out moments (one of the guys gets barfed on and peed on), and various un-funny hijinks (one gets involved with a girl who steals the van, the guys scam free food and try to scam their way into competition and into getting reviewed for sponsorship), and various un-funny encounters with the otherwise funny Randy Quaid and the never funny Tom Green, all to a pounding soundtrack of mediocre hip-hop music. And then there is the credit sequence out-takes, just as uninteresting and annoying as the movie itself. There are some guest appearances by real skateboarding champs that are fun for fans.
Okay, you might be saying, but what about the skateboarding? Surely that is a sport made for the movies and those scenes make it all worthwhile. I wish, I reply. While there are some terrific stunts, the final skate-off with the arrogant leader of the championship team is filmed without any sense of tension or exhilaration.
Indeed, it is exhilaration that is what is most missing from this movie. You never believe that these guys really love to skateboard; it seems that they just don’t want to do anything else.
Parents should know that the movie has strong language and sexual references and situations for a PG-13. The characters cheat and steal. Characters drink, sometimes to excess. There is a lot of gross humor involving bodily functions. One strong point is the presence of some classy and capable female characters.
Families who see this movie should talk about why Matt is so hurt by his parents decision and why his behavior toward women is so inconsistent with what he says he wants from them. Why do the guys want sponsorship so badly? Will they behave differently toward other aspiring professionals than the way the current professionals treated them?
Families who enjoy this movie should see the much better Dogtown and Z-Boys and Breaking Away.