“TPB fans will have a good cry-laugh with our 3 beloved buddies, as they fumble their way through a new set of greasy schemes, and re-evaluate their friendships in the process.”￼
Title: Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It
Director: Mike Clattenburg
Cast: John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith, John Dunsworth, Patrick Roach, Jonathan Torrens, Sarah Dunsworth, Bernard Robichaud, Richard Collins, Jacob Rolfe, Tyrone Parsons, Sam Tarasco, Lucy Decoutere.
Length: 95 minutes
Release date: April 18, 2014
Reviewed by: Isabel Cupryn
Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are back, this time the’yre road-tripping all the way to Ottawa’s “Parmalent” Hill. This is the third feature film based on the TV show, a mockumentary chronicling life in Nova Scotia’s fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park. Sunnyvale’s usually depicted in an inexplicably un-Canadian state of permanent summer, but this time sad grey skies loom, and Bubbles even quips ironically “Where did all this snow come from?”
Four-eyed Bubbles (Mike Smith) is bike-delivering chicken, and living under a house. His estranged parents’ have died and left him their Kingston, Ontario hippie abode. Meanwhile, rum-and-coke swilling Julian (John Paul Tremblay)’s recent gig as a bouncer just ended, after an embarrassing sucker punch from a young punk. So he’s hatched a shady plan to sell “military-grade” urine, to be used by drug-test scammers, in Montreal.
Julian and Bubbs have recently sworn off helping friend Ricky (Robb Wells) with his grow-op. That’s because “self-smarted” Ricky tends to screw up. Ironically, working alone has led to Ricky’s first-ever bout of success… But he’s had to move out of the beloved trailer park he calls home. To “add assault to injury”, the government’s planning a hearing on legalizing and controlling pot production – A threat to the only thing Ricky’s actually good at.
So a road trip it is. To claim Bubbles’ ramshackle property in Kingston, yell at politicians in Ottawa, and sell Julian’s pee stash in Montreal. Only in the world of TPB would this be an actual plot. And it works, as the TV show and films have always worked, by mixing reality-show satire with a truly endearing three-way bromance. Plus, well-loved secondary characters. There’s plenty of screen time given to my personal faves: rapping white boy J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens), and big-bellied man-whore Randy (Patrick Roach).
No sign though of goof-buds Corey and Trevor, nor the “little pimp” babies that J-Roc and Tyrone “co-fathered”. There are some good laughs, but less of the wordplay and unique Ricky-isms that usually become instant-classic quotes. However I suspect it’s for a reason: to create a more contemplative and political tone. It’s a subtle shift, but it’s interesting. I do wish the writers had focused the political aspect less on the pot issue, and more on the roots of Sunnyvale’s woes: poverty and unemployment.
When Ricky finally makes his anti-legalization speech, it’s hard to tell if the writers are trying to make some earnest points, or just be ironic. Or are they just toying with their pot-friendly primary demographic to court controversy (translation: marketing)? Instead, the best social commentary happens when town drunk Mr. Lahey (John Dunsworth) is at his worst. Despite appearances though, substance abuse and crime aren’t, and never really were, the point. It’s about being at the bottom, where you have nothing except each other.
So yup, it gets grim, little mafs (classic J-Roc phrase, circa 2008). But in a way, it’s a good thing, like a rite of passage you didn’t realize needed to happen. I’m OK with this valuable and well-timed journey to a slightly darker place, as long as it’s not permanent. I’m crossing my fingers that in the show’s upcoming Season 8, the writers will lead us back, a little bit wiser, to Sunnyvale’s impossibly eternal summer and wealth of unforgettable humour.
For newcomers to the Trailer Park Boys franchise, the flick does a mediocre job in acquainting you with the who’s-who. Luckily, this article has given you the 420-themed 411 (see, that’s why I’m not a comedy writer). TPB fans will have a good cry-laugh with our 3 beloved buddies, as they fumble their way through a new set of greasy schemes, and re-evaluate their friendships in the process.