Monday, 14 June 2021

‘Bad Trip’ raunchy prank antics run wild; cable TV preview


Johnny Knoxville has been on hiatus for several years from the idiocy of the wild pranks of the “Jackass” franchise, but until the next installment arrives the vacuum can be filled by others making a hidden camera movie.

We are long past the days of Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera,” and for the uninitiated, clips of classic episodes of this landmark television series from the Fifties and Sixties may be glimpsed on YouTube.

To fill the void until Knoxville returns, Netflix steps into the breach with “Bad Trip,” a raunchy prank-filled adventure thankfully devoid of a political agenda or social commentary.

Be warned that two best buddies in dead-end jobs in Florida, namely Bud Malone (Lil Rel Howery) and Chris Carey (Eric Andre), are thrust into a road trip to New York City that is fraught with, well, an abundance of gross humor.

The goofball of the pair is Chris, first seen working at a car wash when the girl of his dreams, high school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin), arrives to have her car detailed.

Sharing his excitement at spotting the dream girl with a customer, Chris mishandles a vacuum so powerful that it sucks off his clothes, leaving him completely naked and afraid to the consternation of the customer.

A chance encounter later with Maria plants the seed for Chris and Bud to steal the pink Crown Vic belonging to Bud’s sister Trina (Tiffany Haddish), who breaks out of prison and loses her mind about her missing car.

What ensues is a wild journey to New York for Chris to find Maria at her art gallery, with an enraged Trina not far behind. That Bud and Chris take time to push some boundaries at a southern cowboy bar is just one of many pranks.

Inarguably, bad taste runs ramp in “Bad Trip” with its degrading pranks from fake vomit spewing on bar patrons, penises stuck in Chinese finger traps, and not least with Chris getting sexually molested by a gorilla at a zoo.

“Bad Trip” may be an uneven comedy but there are plenty of laughs for those willing to take the ride.


May we ponder the question of whether certain actors are destined to play particular characters? Can you imagine someone other than Charlton Heston becoming the personification of Moses in “The Ten Commandments?”

Though not yet an iconic actor in her own right, Danielle Brooks, by way of a role in the 2015 Broadway revival of “The Color Purple,” came to the realization from castmates that she should play the part of gospel artist Mahalia Jackson.

The Lifetime Channel’s TV movie “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia” fulfills a destiny for Brooks, who let it be known during the winter press tour that Broadway co-star Jennifer Hudson would come to her dressing room to say she should play Mahalia Jackson.

When Jennifer Holliday stepped into a role in “The Color Purple,” she suggested the same thing to Brooks, who told the press that “maybe this is a sign. Maybe God is telling me maybe I should really think about this character.”

And so, Brooks will play the part in “Mahalia” of the New Orleans native who began singing at an early age and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in U.S. history, melding her music with the civil right movement.

Mahalia’s recording of the song “Move on Up a Little Higher” sold millions of copies, skyrocketing her to international fame and gave her the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball.

Acorn TV, one of several cable brands within the umbrella of AMC Networks, is a good source of entertainment from Great Britain and neighboring European countries. The four-part Irish crime thriller “Bloodlands” has made its debut but there is time to catch up with it.

In “Bloodlands,” James Nesbitt stars as Tom Brannick, a veteran Northern Ireland police detective going into his own dark past to try to solve an infamous cold case that holds enormous personal significance for him.

When an expensive car containing a suicide note – but no body – is pulled from the sea, Brannick immediately sees a connection with the cold case that may link to a long-buried series of mysterious disappearances.

Not to be outdone, AMC will bring the British drama series “The Beast Must Die,” starring Jared Harris and Cush Jumbo, to the United States this spring. The six-part thriller is based on the novel by Nicholas Blake (the pen name of Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis).

Unlike the 1974 horror film of the same title, “The Beast Must Die” tells the revenge story of a grieving mother who infiltrates the life of the man she believes killed her son.

At the winter press tour, AMC executive Dan McDermott observed that this engaging revenge thriller “explores the human condition and how the depths of suffering sometimes give rise to unexpected consequences.” We’ll soon judge for ourselves how this plays out.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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