• Nate Adams

Review: Prankster comedy 'Bad Trip' gets mileage out of thin premise


Courtesy of Netflix

A flimsy premise gets stretched into feature length territory in Eric André’s nimble prankster comedy “Bad Trip.” Coming from the minds of “Bad Grandpa” - a similar hidden camera flick where unsuspecting patrons are filmed while actors do outlandish, raunchy stunts - “Bad Trip” has fun despite becoming less inventive the longer it trolls on. Unlike the “Jackass” crew who record themselves doing stupid shit, “Bad Trip” brandishes a “plot” that exists solely to move audiences from one prank to the next.


In the case of “Bad Trip” that “plot” involves Chris Carey (André) and his best friend Bud Malone (Lil Rel Howery) taking a cross-country journey to locate a childhood crush who is now running her own arthouse gallery in New York City. En route to their destination, the two make frequent stops in rural backwoods counties where all types of unplanned shenanigans ensue (and people won’t recognize them).


In one scene, Chris and Bud’s genitalia end-up, for reasons I can’t explain, conjoined by a Chinese finger trap and they ask random folks walking in their vicinity to assist them; another sequence sees Chris sexually assaulted by a man in a gorilla suit while innocent zoo goers watch in horror (they assume it’s a real ape). André and Howery are in on the joke and some of the reactions - one moment sees the duo chased at knifepoint - are comical but it can’t hold a candle to how Sacha Baron Cohen manages to coax people into doing even dumber things.


And considering the film was moved several times due to the pandemic, some jokes - notably the Harambe inspired gorilla bit - feel dated. But “Bad Trip” caters to the late night stoner crowd who will appreciate this absurdist comedy wholeheartedly. André and Howery are good sports during the harder to stomach sequences and Tiffany Haddish - playing Bud’s older sister looking for blood after her car is stolen - nabs solid laughs with director Kiato Sakurai capturing every angle through a variety of stealth camera tricks. “Bad Trip” doesn’t offer stern metaphors on political ideologies or attempt to sway the election cycle like “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” but its go-for-broke attitude shouldn’t go unnoticed.


Grade: B


BAD TRIP is now streaming on Netflix