The Movie: Bad Trip
The Pitch: From one of the guys that brought you Jackass and Bad Grandpa, this hidden camera comedy follows best friends Chris and Bud (Eric André and Lil Rey Howery) as they go on a cross-country road trip to pursue one of their high school sweethearts. Meanwhile, Tiffany Haddish is in hot pursuit as Bud’s escaped convict sister, who is pissed that her hot pink car has been taken without her permission. But this isn’t just your average buddy road trip comedy. Along the way, the narrative includes inventive pranks on real, unsuspecting people, pulling its real-life audience into the mayhem.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: Sacha Baron Cohen has perfected the hidden camera comedy that pulls real people into insane situations with cringeworthy results in the Borat film franchise. However, Jackass and Bad Grandpa producer Jeff Tremaine and director Kitao Sakurai get a little more wild and crazy with their stunts in the narrative-driven prank movie Bad Trip. That’s not the surprising part though. What will really catch you off guard is that no matter how raunchy and inappropriate Bad Trip gets, it’s full of kindhearted, helpful people willing to lend a hand in some truly shocking and awkward scenarios.
Bad Trip has Eric André and Lil Rey Howery staging some crazy situations, with André taking a lot of embarrassment and faux injuries. Throughout the movie, he accidentally sticks a hand into a blender with bloody results, gets forced into sex by a gorilla in a low-rent zoo as attendees watch on in horror, and falls off a bar balcony after too many shots. The duo also get in a car-flipping accident that ends in a ball of flame. The pranks are impressive, but what’s even more astonishing is how willing people are to help in these extreme situations, no matter how stupid the events leading up to it have been.
There are moments of incredible kindness in the face of complete stupidity and danger. When a car vacuum sucks off André’s work jumpsuit, leaving him naked as he waits to talk to his high school sweetheart, a nearby customer offers his coat to cover his junk. After André feigns ridiculously drunken behavior, a massive fall prompts a nurse in the bar to immediately help him, even as he uncontrollably vomits with an impressive sleeve rig. When the aforementioned car accident creates a rift between André and Howery’s characters, another man steps in to stop them and encourages them to get to safety. Upon learning the car was stolen, he even encourages them to make a run for it so they don’t get in trouble with the police. Elsewhere, when Tiffany Haddish stages a prison escape after hiding under a prisoner transport bus, a lone man runs interference for her when the bus driver comes looking for an escaped convict. There are also more low key moments where candid conversations bring heartfelt and helpful advice from average people in the face of perplexing, idiotic ideas.
Beyond this unanticipated turn of events in Bad Trip, there are still plenty of satisfying bits that you’ve come to expect from movies like this. There are a handful of people who aren’t thrilled to be part of the insanity and react unfavorably. One particular sequence involving André and Howery having a certain part of their lower anatomy stuck in a Chinese finger trap seems like it could take a nasty turn at any moment.
Those wondering how people reacted when they learned they were being pranked just need to watch the credits, which will leave you even more touched by how concerned total strangers were with the well-being of these two knuckleheads. Bad Trip certainly wasn’t the movie I was expecting to give me a little more hope for humanity, but I’ll take what I can get.