- Emma Simmonds
- 26 March 2021
Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery join Eric André for real pranks and a road trip
A charismatic trio bring their comedic chops to some shamelessly asinine antics in a film that combines hidden camera pranks and a road trip adventure. With livewire Tiffany Haddish and Get Out's Lil Rel Howery providing the support, Bad Trip is fronted by the affable Eric André. André is better known in the US, where he has his own self-titled sketch show, directed by Kitao Sakurai, who takes the helm here.
The premise is unashamedly basic. After bumping into his old high school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin), Chris (André) is reminded of how much he still cares for her. On a highly delusional whim, he begins plotting a road trip from Florida to New York to surprise and win Maria over, with his wing man Bud (Howery) along for the ride. To get there, they need to borrow the beloved 'Bad Bitch' car of Bud's terrifying convict sister, Trina (Haddish). Although she's currently behind bars, their timing couldn't be worse as she's about to break out...
Haddish makes a fierce and funny adversary as she crawls from a prison van, rips the door from a police car and makes her violent intentions towards the pair very plain indeed. The dialogue between André and Howery, which often seems improvised, can be appealing – Howery does a nice bit describing how freaky it is that Trina can fry food with her bare hands – and more such banter would have been welcome.
Instead, it's all about the pranks, some of which plump for pure shock value (a scene where Chris gets trapped in a gorilla enclosure at the zoo, one where Maria apparently beats up a blind man). But, even amongst the film's most outlandish moments, there's plenty to genuinely tickle: an interesting application of a Chinese finger trap, for example, and, perhaps most memorably, a mall-based musical number, which elicits a hilarious range of reactions, including looks of sheer horror. There are some heroically unfazed citizens who get stuck in, like a woman who calmly tries to stop Bud sinking into a toilet, and the crowd who act as negotiators during the perilous climax.
Bad Trip misses the satirical dimension of Borat's big screen outings, which lends them a bit of bite and edge, while Sakurai struggles to seamlessly blend the surveillance and higher quality movie footage in a film that lacks some visual flair and energy. Hidden camera stunts have been done to death and there will be some who won't find this amusing at all, but there's just about enough imagination on display and it is even an improvement on a lot of bromantic road trippers, with its likeable pals and female characters with agency and spunk. Bad Trip might not be classy but it is pretty good fun.
Available to watch on Netflix now.