Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It Review

Posted: December 3, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

trailer_park_boys_dont_legalize_itWritten by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

When it comes to contemporary original Canadian television, few shows seem to be able to translate to any audiences outside of Canada. While shows like Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie have had success in their home country, they haven’t really caught in anywhere else. In this regard, Trailer Park Boys is exceptional. The comedy series focusing on the misadventures of a trio of Canadian criminals has been very successful both in Canada and the United States. The show has created a very passionate fan-base which has continued to support for over ten years with eight seasons, some specials, and feature films. They key to the show’s success seems to be how it isn’t afraid to be openly set in Canada, but it has a sense of humour which you don’t have to be Canadian to “get”. I haven’t really seen enough Trailer Park Boys to call myself a fan. But I do like what I’ve seen. The few episodes of the show I’ve watched have made me laugh and I enjoyed both Trailer Park Boys: The Movie and its sequel Countdown to Liquor Day. They aren’t great films, but they’re amusing for what they are, and given the positive reception from fans, I had assumed the newest film, Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It would proof just as amusing as previous entries.

The film begins with the look at the residents of Sunnyvale trailer park and what has become of them. Despite recently suffering a death in the family, Ricky (Robb Wells) is currently the most successful of the main three. Not only is he producing high quality marijuana, but he’s producing a higher quality than ever and business seems strong. However there is talk of legalization in Canada, a change which would effectively put Ricky out of business. Ricky vows to head to Ottawa and protest. Meanwhile, Julian (John Paul Tremblay) has concocted a successful, if embarrassing scheme involving selling drug tested urine to buyers in Montreal. Unfortunately, Bubbles (Mike Smith) has fallen on hard times. He currently is living under J-Roc’s (Jonathan Torrens) porch and the only money he makes comes from delivering chicken and cigarettes around the park on his bike. He comes across fortune though when he inherits a home in Kingston. With all three needing to move east, they decide to take a road trip together.

I was a bit surprised by how many plotlines are in Don’t Legalize It. In addition to the details above, the gang are followed by Randy (Patrick Roach) and a vengeful Mr. Lahey (John Dunsworth), and Tyrone (Tyrone Parsons) escaping from a halfway house and tagging along with Julian. On the one hand, a lot of these stories are interesting and it’s nice to see what all of these characters have been up to. The various set-ups also lead to some really fun comedic set-ups which do pay off nicely. But on the other hand, it does make the film messy, especially as a lot of the plots either go nowhere, or where they go is so pointless they may as well have not included it. For example the film opens with the funeral of Ricky’s father, Ray. This doesn’t play much of a role in the film and when it does eventually come back, it seems unnecessary. The same goes for Bubbles inheriting land from his parents. It’s an interesting idea, but its inclusion doesn’t lead much. When the film climaxes with Ricky protesting on Parliament Hill, it doesn’t really feel like a natural conclusion.

The film continues the mockumentary style from the television series, which I suppose could be jarring to new viewers. Not that mockumentary isn’t a known style, but the way it’s used here can be a little inconsistent. Sometimes characters openly address the camera, but there are other times where it isn’t natural for a camera crew to be around and it feels more like a regular movie. That said, the film never strives for authenticity the way something like The Blair Witch Project does so it isn’t too noticeable, in fact I never even thought about it until this film. Beyond that, the film does look fairly cheap, but not in a way that’s distracting. The humble nature of the show lends itself to these kinds of visuals. It was also nice to see the gang leave Sunnyvale for so long, and the climax at Parliament Hill is particularly neat in that regard.

I’ve been criticising a lot of things in this review, but ultimately those points mean little. The fact is I did enjoy this movie. It got some consistent laughs out of me throughout the runtime. All of these actors are still really committed to these characters and while the film doesn’t do anything new with the formula, it executes it well-enough. Whether it be little details such as Ricky’s frequent malapropisms, or bigger jokes like Mr. Lahey’s growing cocaine addiction, I was always chuckling at something. Also, as flawed as the storytelling is, I still was able to get into it. I have a lot of affinity for these characters, more in fact than I thought I had, and I really rooted for them to succeed. On that note, the characters get a happy ending here that really isn’t deserved, but in some ways I didn’t really care.

So what is there to say about Don’t Legalize It? If you’re a fan of the series, than you’ve probably already seen it and enjoyed it quite a bit. If you don’t like the series, this will not change your mind, nor does it aspire to. I think the creative team realized with the first film that the only people seeing these movies were those already on board and as such the films don’t really try to ease in new viewers. As a film, there’s plenty here for me to criticize, but I also can’t deny that I had a good time.

B-

Comments
  1. Chris says:

    I busted a nut in the theatre in the opening funeral scene. I think the other three people in attendance probably thought I was crazy.

  2. Curtis says:

    Nice work “heavy metal” pgcooper

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