I Believe In A Thing Called Love
There’s something endlessly endearing about pranks. From YouTube and Facebook stars like Arron Crascall and Marty & Michael through to more prolific acts like Jackass and Impractical Jokers, this form of comedy doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
Bad Trip then is Eric Andre’s feature-length sequence of pranks, stitched together with a loose plot about a road trip. The result is a hilarious and surprisingly clever movie that manages to seamlessly blend these gags with a more straight forward comedy flick.
The story here is admittedly bare-bones but to be honest, this is exactly what you’d expect from a movie like this anyway. The plot here begins in Florida, with Chris working at a car wash. Things are going great until he notices his childhood crush, Maria. Panicking, a big prank sees Chris bundle into a nearby car to evade her.
Meanwhile, Chris’ best friend Bud works at a computer shop. Unfortunately his estranged sister Trina is on house arrest and winds up robbing the store, taking off with stacks of money – a move that inevitably sees her in jail again. She does break out though, setting up a cat and mouse chase for the next part of the movie.
We then skip forward one year as Chris and Bud decide to go on a big adventure together. After an earlier conversation with Maria at work, she’s an art curator in New York and he’s going to head there and confess his undying love.
This set-up is simply there to drive the narrative forward and give the movie a spine. What’s particularly clever – and where the story thrives- is in the way innocent bystanders and members of the public influence the direction of the story. Of course, all of this has been plotted out beforehand but it still serves as a decent illusion here that gives the impression this movie has been improvised.
There’s a musical number in the middle of all this too, complete with a clumsy flash mob, in one of the movie’s better moments. Another time an army recruiter gives Chris words of wisdom to spur him on. A seemingly innocent conversation about White Chicks pays dividends late on too, with a long-joke that pays off with a particularly uncomfortable (and hilarious) punchline. All of these moments work well, even if the film does feel a tad overlong.
The humour itself is a bit of a mixed bag at times, although those who like things on the crude-side will be in their element here. A projectile vomiting gag drags on a little too long while other jokes don’t quite hit their mark either. I won’t disclose all the different pranks here but suffice to say the movie doesn’t always hit it out the park.
When it does though, Bad Trip turns from a bad trip into a heady delight, delivering some hearty laughs and outrageous stunts. The story woven through the middle of all this is certainly welcome, especially the way it ties everything together at the end. This is very much classic Eric André territory, and with him in the driving seat, Bad Trip reaches a very satisfying destination.