Movie Review: Bad Trip
I can’t think of all that many people who dislike the comedic efforts of Eric Andre. His self-titular Adult Swim show was a masterclass in uncomfortable, staged interviews with some of the most well-known faces from around the globe. With a fifth season announced for The Eric Andre Show and a release date at the back end of the year, we’ve got some time to kill before its release. For those looking for another fix of Eric Andre’s unique brand of humour, then perhaps Bad Trip will do the trick.
The nuances and surrealist humour of his eponymous television show are nowhere to be found in the feature-length prank-comedy Bad Trip. Adapting the prank-oriented parts of his show, Bad Trip is eighty minutes of poorly constructed plot mechanics intercut with some moderately funny moments. Andre is perhaps one of the only people that has exuded enough confidence to make this format work, and alongside Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rey Howery, a formidable trio comes together in a rather conventional style.
Bad Trip and those that find themselves reluctantly involved in the various settings seem to be rather easily swayed by the susceptible charms of Andre’s overwhelming dedication to his role as Chris, a man chasing down the girl of his dreams all the way to New York. He sets out on a road trip with Bud (Lil Rey Howery), a shy and reluctant supporting character that provides us the straight man role to balance out the more extravagant scenes. In some ways, it reminds me of the Johnny Knoxville led Bad Grandpa, and considering my soft spot for that movie, it’s relatively easy to transfer that love over to this movie.
Bad Trip riffs on the Jackass pranks more than one would expect from such unique comedians. Portable toilet gags, praying on the reactions and outrage of random members of the public and quite a lot of jokes surrounding typical genre tropes.
There are of course some moments that jump the shark. Acceptable in most circumstances if it’s a comedy, but pulling these moments off as genuine pranks feels a bit futile, even if the response to scenes that depict Andre fighting a gorilla or the drug trip in the supermarket are funny, it brings out the more childish side of the comedy on display. A very predictable story is often defended or subverted by the funnier moments, but Bad Trip runs out of steam from time to time, stumbling around rather aimlessly. It does manage to finds its footing though, making these shallow scenes feel necessary but ineffective.
After Impractical Jokers: The Movie, I find it hard to get behind adapting prank shows to fit a big screen narrative. Andre’s charm is just enough to get through the slower portions of the film, and to be honest, if you’re a fan of his, Bad Trip will most likely hit the right spot. There are funny moments littered throughout, some of the pranks are great fun, but the shoehorned narrative will often get in the way of funnier moments. Whether or not the narrative can keep up with such a fast pace is up for debate, but the chemistry of Andre and Howery makes for a fun, forgettable time.