'Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It': Film Review
The popular Canadian television comedy series gets its third big-screen incarnation
Canada has long been a prime incubator of comedic talent, but something seems to have gone amiss when it comes to the success of the Trailer Park Boys. The simultaneous release of the popular television series’ latest season (on Netflix) and their third feature film, Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It, is enough to induce serious bafflement among those, this reviewer included, who can’t understand what the fuss is all about.
In this latest big-screen venture the familiar characters are back, including the endlessly profane, malapropism-spouting Ricky (Robb Wells); the hard-drinking, criminal-minded Julian (John Paul Tremblay); the coke-bottle eyeglass-wearing Bubbles (Mike Smith); their arch-nemesis, trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth); and his perennially shirtless, beer belly-baring crony Randy (Patrick Roach).
Directed and co-scripted by the show’s creator, Mike Clattenburg, the film finds the gang embroiled in typical hijinks. Julian’s latest business is selling clean urine, marked by its “quality and freshness,” to his drug-dealing rival Cyrus (Bernard Robichaud). Ricky’s home-grown pot business is threatened by the Canadian government’s plan to legalize marijuana. And Bubbles finds out that his long-lost parents have died and left him an inheritance.
The ensuing road trip takes them to Ottawa, where Ricky plans to argue against the impending bill, by way of Kingston and Montreal to take care of the other two’s pressing matters. Hot in their pursuit are Lahey and Randy, who plan to get the trio sent to jail on a trumped-up cocaine charge.
Shot inconsistently in the series’ mockumentary style, which often finds the characters delivering direct addresses to an unseen camera crew, the relentlessly tedious film is devoid of laughs, from its opening scene of a funeral held in a garbage dump to its would-be set piece in which Ricky appears before a parliamentary hearing, handing out samples of his product and threatening to “sue the government radioactively” for his previous incarcerations.
The performers settle into their characterizations with a well-honed ease, with Smith, at least, mildly amusing as the rather lovable Bubbles. But anyone not already initiated into the Trailer Park Boys cult will find themselves at a loss, both amusement and information-wise, since familiarity with their antics is assumed. Suffice it to say that few newcomers will be converted by this latest outing.
Production: Topsail Entertainment
Cast: John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith, John Dunsworth, Patrick Roach, Bernard Robichaud, Jonathan Torrens
Director: Mike Clattenburg
Screenwriters: Mike Clattenburg, Mike O’Neill
Producers: Mike Clattenburg, Barrie Dunn, Michael Volpe
Director of photography: Jeremy Benning
Production designer: Angela Murphy
Costume designer: Sarah Dunsworth
Editor: Dean Soltys
No rating, 96 minutes