Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day, the latest big-screen adventure for those East Coast hooligans, doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the TV show. While diehard fans can delight in the return of Ricky (Robb Wells), Julian (John Paul Tremblay) and Bubbles (Mike Smith), uninitiated viewers should get a feel for the trailer park universe in the film’s expository intro.
It takes guts to act with this kind of doofus abandon. John Dunsworth, who spends much of the film running around drunk in his skivvies, deserves some kind of medal for bravery.
It opens with Ricky, Julian and Bubbles being released from jail, which is where they ended up in the series finale. Each member of the hapless, dope-smokin’ trio vows to go straight on the outside, promises that prove empty as soon as they’re sprung: After hitting the road in a stolen Department of Corrections van, Ricky and Julian undertake a fairly hilarious liquor store robbery en route to their Sunnyvale Trailer Park home.
The ex-cons return to find things have changed in their absence. The trailer park looks like a bombed-out wasteland, Bubbles’s treasured kitties have been sent to an animal shelter and Sunnyvale’s supervisor, Mr. Lahey (John Dunsworth), has given up the drink and developed his own posh Luxury Estates trailers. When the Boys’ attempts to forge new careers are dashed, and their nemesis Lahey starts dipping into the wine coolers, it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.
The hell that breaks loose is that brand of fresh Trailer Park Boys hell, mayhem that involves gay jokes, pee jokes, fat jokes, drunk people jokes, pot jokes, white-trash jokes, white-rapper jokes and, most of all, jokes that end with a highly creative use of the F-bomb.
Somewhere in the midst of all the latest shenanigans, I could see glimmers of what made the original series a cult favourite. Shot in recognizable locations in Halifax and neighbouring Dartmouth, and featuring clever homegrown references (to Hostess Munchies hats, Tim Hortons and Canadian Tire money), Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day shows its Canadian roots with pride.
What’s more, it takes guts to act with this kind of doofus abandon. Although Wells, Tremblay and Smith remain note-perfect, John Dunsworth — who spends much of the film running around dead drunk in his skivvies — surely deserves some kind of special medal for his onscreen bravery.
The script has some nice underlying ideas about loyalty. As Julian attempts to launch his own auto body shop (optimistically named Success), some of his friends have little faith in his dream. In contrast, Julian sets fire to his beloved Monte Carlo in order to bail Bubbles out of a scrape. Lahey’s pot-bellied part-time lover Randy further reveals the movie’s fuzzy underbelly when he places a sign that reads "Everything grows with love" in a bed of marigolds.
But just as the Boys’ schemes always result in disaster, my own futile mission to look for depth, meaning or any kind of point in Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day ultimately ended in exhaustion and a migraine. As is often the case with TV shows translated to the big screen, the movie feels overlong and slapdash, playing more like zany episodes strung together than any kind of coherent whole. With logic and taste thrown out the window, the film’s lively last act centres on a heist that is overflowing with profanity, booze and lots of pee jokes.
If that floats your boat, then grab a rum and Coke and head on over to Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day. Me, I was just counting down to the credits.
Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day opens Sept. 25.
Lee Ferguson writes about the arts for CBCNews.ca.