Bad Trip

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Bad Trip wasn’t completely ignored. It hit #1 the week it came out on Netflix. Then promptly dropped out of the Top 10. Since it was originally set for a cinematic release before the pandemic, I wonder if it might have made more of an impression given that treatment. With streaming services, video on demand, traditional TV, and now theaters returning to the fold, there are simply too many choices vying for our consideration. It’s difficult to ascertain which movies are worth your attention. Bad Trip is a notable comedy.

Director Kitao Sakurai’s production is the latest addition to the illustrious list of “hidden camera prank movies.” The TV show Candid Camera is kind of the granddaddy of the genre. Legendary producer Allen Funt’s creation can trace its origins back to the 1940s. Its modern popularity was reignited by Jackass: The Movie after the new millennium. The team of Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine, would later do Bad Grandpa (2013). That endeavor was a little different in that it involved a relaxed narrative that connected the stunts and practical jokes together. Jackass co-creator Jeff Tremaine is a busy guy. Since then he has worked on the documentary Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine and Mötley Crüe biopic The Dirt. Now he has returned with another project and it’s supremely ridiculous.

The loose plot follows two friends Chris (Eric Andre) and Bud (Lil Rey Howery) on a venture as they travel from Florida to New York. Chris wants to reconnect with Maria (Michaela Conlin), his high school crush. Tiffany Haddish also crashes the party as Trina, Chris’ ne’er-do-well sister. She’s conveniently in jail. So they steal her car for their expedition. That’s all the details I’m going to reveal. Why spoil the set pieces that make the film so funny? However, I will praise the actors’ commitment to the scene. Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, and Tiffany Haddish are effective in eliciting interesting reactions from their unsuspecting marks.

The similarly constructed Borat arguably achieved a cultural zenith in 2002. The politically motivated presentation was entertaining, but it was also depressing because of the negative light it cast on society. Conversely, Bad Trip creates situations in which naive people demonstrate surprisingly compassionate and sensitive responses to the unexpected chaos to which they are subjected. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some heartwarming tale that will enrich your life for the better. It’s a low-brow comedy. “Two dudes get caught in a Chinese finger trap” is not a blueprint for intellectual satire, but it is a situation for some unexpectedly benevolent people. I was pleased by the screenplay’s deft handling of crudity mixed with sympathy. That balance is not easy to do. It’s the kind of silly film that often gets overlooked. I ignored it when it was unleashed on Netflix on March 26. Then came the positive reviews and I decided to check it out. I’m glad I did. The saga is an affirmation of humanity. I was touched…and shocked…in equal measure.

04-20-21

2 Responses to “Bad Trip”

  1. This was fun. Better than the “Jacka$$” movies. You cared about the characters, cause it had a little story. Made me laugh a lot. 3 1/2 ⭐️

    Like

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