22nd Mar2021

‘Bad Trip’ Review (Netflix)

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Eric André, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Anthony J. James, Michaela Conlin, Adam Meir, Charles Green, Cory DeMeyers | Written by Eric André, Kathryn Borel, Dan Curry, Jenna Park, Kitao Sakurai | Directed by Kitao Sakurai

Part scripted buddy-comedy road movie and part prank show, Bad Trip follows hot on the heels of the Impractical Jokers movie, mixing well-plotted laughs with the kind of comedy that only comes from the sheer terror of being in the middle of a well-planned prank… But then what else would you expect from Jeff Tremaine, both a star and a producer on only king of the prank shows Jackass, but also the Johnny Knoxville starring “Jackass Presents” movie Bad Grandpa – a film which is an obvious inspiration for this outing!

What I’d expect is a good movie. Bad Trip is NOT a good movie. There’s a very good reason this is now – thanks to the current worldwide pandemic – making its debut on Netflix. Unlike Bad Grandpa which actually told something of a story, this is nothing more than a series of VERY loosely connected skits that confuse and verify the general public; with the kind of bad taste humour that definitely sit on the crueler end of the prank show spectrum.

The big issue is, honestly, the complete lack of story. There is none, there’s a set-up and some inter-connected scenes that SEEM to tie into the plot but ultimately this is a series of set-pieces. One after another with little or no set-up for each scene – even the pranks aren’t set up enough to give them a decent payoff. It’s too quick-fire, too slip-shod to make a coherent film. Plus there’s Eric Andre. Whilst he’s often a shining beacon of laughs in other movies, here he is just not funny. Much like I didn’t enjoy him in his self-titled TV show which, interestingly, was also held by the same director, I did not enjoy him in this film in the slightest.

So both Andre and Sakurai have form in this style of often absurdist, envelope-pushing comedy; but the show did it in moderation, this is a feature-length film. A feature-length film that quickly becomes monotonous. Hell, the film itself descends into a series of LITERAL bad trips, quick-fire pranks and so-called jokes in an attempt to get past the monotony – as if trying to shock the audience out of a slumber this film has put them in!

The only thing, the ONLY thing (well apart from the ridiculous amount of White Chicks references), that will keep you watching is Tiffany Haddish. Her role as the jailbird sister of Lil Rel Howery’s Bud Malone is a maelstrom of sheer abandon. Her character doesn’t give a crap and neither does Haddish – you can see how much freedom the role gives her and how much fun she’s having pranking the unsuspecting public, whilst playing up to the loud-mouth ex-con stereotype that is so prevalent in cinema today.

Truly the kind of film where credits are better than the movie (its more fun seeing the publics reaction to the reveal than anything that happens in the movie itself), Bad Trip is available to stream on Netflix from March 26th 2021.

Hey, at least your not paying inflated cinema prices to be disappointed!

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