A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
"Grind" has a tone like "The Endless Summer," that dreamy surfing movie in which a bunch of buddies devote their lives to hanging out together and searching for the perfect wave. This time, it's skateboards, not surfboards, and the goal is not the perfect wave but sponsorship for their team and a chance to tour with the champion they admire, but the ethic is about the same: Skateboarding is forever, and things like college and girls only ruin an endlessly savored adolescence.
The buddies live in that Southern California that is a state of mind, where life centers on the skateboard store and famous skateboarders are mobbed the way rock stars are in another universe. They dream of turning professional but can't get the pros to look at their demo tapes and can't win the sponsorship necessary to get into the big tournaments. So they hit the road, stalking the tour of the famous champion Jimmy Wilson, hoping they can get his attention, or somebody's attention; they have T-shirts printed advertising a fake company they claim is their sponsor.
That's the plot, more or less. The guys are only vaguely differentiated; the lead is Eric (Mike Vogel), but the one who stands out is Sweet Lou (Joey Kern), who fancies himself a ladies man and sidles up to a potential conquest with a soft-voiced come-on, as if to notice him is to surrender to him. Two women do actually enter their orbit: one who seems too good to be true, and is, and another who likes them and gets them into a tournament.
There is also an interlude with the parents of Matt (Vince Vieluf), who ran away from home to join the circus and so should have no complaints about his skateboarding tour. Matt and the guys visit them at a clown college (or klown kollege, I suppose), where Matt is embarrassed to find his folks in putty noses, but where the possibility of becoming skateboarding clowns briefly beckons.