Review by Camden Ferrell
Bad Trip was set to have its world premiere last year at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. However, as the state of the world abruptly changed, the movie was delayed to the following year. Director Kitao Sakurai and comedian Eric Andre collaborated once again on their newest film. Even if the jokes can become repetitive, this film is a hilariously cringeworthy and energetic road trip comedy that makes the most of its hidden camera pranks.
Chris is a slacker who by chance runs into his high school crush, Maria. Him and his friend, Bud, decide to take a road trip to New York to see her. They embark on their trip in Bud’s sister’s car while she is in prison. The story is extremely simple, and this allows the movie to incorporate many real-life pranks that work in context of the film.
The biggest strength of the film is its hidden camera pranks that make up a significant portion of the film. The screenplay by Andre, Sakurai, and Dan Curry does a mostly decent job of incorporating the pranks into the story. There are some hidden camera moments that don’t blend well into the story, but this is usually compensated by the fact that said moments are consistently enjoyable.
Andre leads the film as Chris, and Lil Rel Howery co-stars as Bud. Andre once again brings the charismatic and chaotic energy for which he is known. He brings a lot of life to the film, and he handles the hidden camera aspects of the film fairly well and does a great job of playing off of the real-life people who don’t realize they’re in a movie. Howery brings his signature charm to his role, and he has some great chemistry with Andre. The film also co-stars Tiffany Haddish as Trina, Bud’s sister who just broke out of prison. Her role is funny at times, but her performance can sometimes fall flat, especially during the hidden camera pranks.
Much like Andre’s acclaimed T.V. show, this movie succeeds in being cringe-inducing. These pranks put the characters in embarrassing and uncomfortable positions that will simultaneously make you crack up and make your skin crawl. Andre plays off the goofiness of these moments very well and convincingly sells otherwise unbelievable situations to an unsuspecting crowd. He consistently shocks, frustrates, and grosses out random bystanders throughout the film.
While the pranks are fun, they don’t have too much variety. This can lead to some bits feeling less effective in comparison to the rest of the film. Unlike the Borat films, this movie can sometimes lack the developed narrative to create some truly unique hidden camera moments. The humor in this movie isn’t clever or well thought out, so while it’s bound to make you laugh, it always feels superficial.
Thankfully, at under ninety minutes, this is a fast-paced comedy that never overstays its welcome. It’s a lot of fun, especially to view with a large group, and there are plenty of hilarious surprises throughout the keep you on edge. It may very well cause some secondhand embarrassment, but it’s an enjoyably chaotic film from start to finish.
Bad Trip sees Eric Andre once again pranking people with skill and charisma. It may miss the mark at times, but thanks to some outrageous pranks and great chemistry, this is a buddy comedy that is a sure to be a crowd-pleaser upon release.
Bad Trip will be available on Netflix March 26.