I first rented Overnight Delivery one evening years ago because that girl from Man in the Moon was in it. I popped the video in, half watching it and half surfing the Internet. After maybe 10 minutes, I'd logged off and turned all of my attention to the movie because it kept making me laugh in spite of myself, and in spite of the questionable story. Really, it's a simple formula: Guy thinks the world of girl, finds out she's cheating on him, goes nuts and sends off a scathing package, finds out it isn't true and then goes on zany adventures to try and stop the package and save his relationship.

Paul Rudd plays Wyatt Trips, a young man who is so sexually pent up that he has become this strange, stiff romantic caricature who knows how to shmooze his girl, but not seal the deal for something more carnal. His relationship has become so by-the-book that he can't even notice the lack of passion behind it. He is, at times, completely ridiculous, something which often makes him seem unbelievable. However, it's Rudd's performance that really sold me on this film. I used to know someone just like him. In fact, the two are so similar, down to the way they say "oh, awesome," that it feels like someone found my old friend and studied him for a few days.

To calm down Rudd's manic mojo is Reese Witherspoon, who plays Ivy Miller. She is a university student who earns money stripping, until an altercation with Trips' friend gets her fired. Later that night, Trips sobs in his cocoa about his cheating, beloved Kimberly (played by Christine Taylor) and the Ricker. Ivy convinces him to toughen up. They scheme up some payback, in the form of a nasty letter that includes a "soiled" condom and faux sex picture. They send it overnight delivery, and of course, Trips soon finds out that the Ricker isn't who, or what, he thought he was.

One would think it would be easy to rectify the situation -- just cancel the shipment. Not in the movies. Instead, Trips rushes out of his dorm room in a panic, wearing only boxers, boots, a robe and a scarf, fleeing to Ivy to tell her of his mistake. When they do try to cancel the delivery, Trips finds himself unfortunately face-to-face with a strange girl (wonderfully played by Sarah Silverman) from one of his classes, who he had upset earlier in the film for a rather devoid-of-reality paper. She hurts his cause. He tries the driver. No luck. He tries flying. Worse luck. All he can do is convince Ivy to drive him. She does, and they encounter a barrage of unbelievable scenarios, while obviously falling for each other.

For a movie that was never released theatrically, there's also a whole lot of story behind Overnight Delivery. Kevin Smith, although uncredited, handled the final re-write of the script, and it has made many a viewer wonder which lines are his. He claims that only the first scene is, but many other snippets seem too Smith-like to be coincidental. The film was also going to keep his then-girlfriend, Joey Lauren Adams, from starring in Chasing Amy. That is, until Witherspoon beat her for the part -- a story that has made Smith rage about Reese over on his website. As if that wasn't enough, the film also got completely ripped off by Road Trip, that crappy Tom Green movie. If you're ever up for the torture, you can pop it in and see just how similar it is.

All in all, the movie stands the test of time, but more for memory's sake than for quality. I still love it, but that might be because it reminds me of my days in school with the crazy dorm rooms and plaid shirts, just as much as it reminds me of my crazy, college friend. Would a new generation find it half as interesting? Maybe not. But then again, considering some of the crap out there that does big business, this film definitely isn't the worst.
CATEGORIES Features, Cinematical