Bad Trip

Your enjoyment of Netflix’s hidden camera comedy Bad Trip hinges on whether you find Eric André’s comedy entertaining;  such is the usual case for shock comics.  Eric André’s boundary-stepping awkwardness has the ability to push his “marks” to their extremes, and then he goes a little further.  It’s a fearless quality that Bad Trip takes full advantage of to tell a story about a passionate quest to pursue love, and the man (Chris Carey played by André) who will stop at nothing to reunite with the woman of his dreams.  But with standoff situations and dangerous confrontations at every turn, will inexperienced viewers need a breather from the tension?

I’m trying to comment on Bad Trip from my perspective, and I thought it was outrageous, hilarious, and surprisingly coherent given André’s infatuation for randomness on his Adult Swim program The Eric André’Show.  But when a “mark” pulled a knife out on André’ and his co-star Lil Rel Howery (Uncle Drew), I was reminded of how dangerous this movie could be.  It’s not irresponsible like Casey Affleck’s pretentious mock-doc I’m Still Here, a movie that confused concept with an in-joke without a care in the world for its accidental stars.  There is a sense of ease with Bad Trip knowing that experienced people are involved with the set-ups and executions of these high concept pranks, including producer Jeff Tremaine who has directed all of the Jackass movies and graduated to another level of free-form comedy with Bad Grandpa.  But, at its core, Bad Trip has a reckless nature to it that requires the panic of others to drive it forward.  Real people are involved in a robbery, in heated arguments, and intense conversations with an unrecognizable Tiffany Haddish (The Oath) as a con-woman who is trying to locate the film’s fun-loving leads. 

I laughed hysterically, and I covered my awe-struck face in stunned disbelief as I watched Bad Trip’s stars and filmmakers push the envelope further with surprises, while excitable outsiders in the movie became more involved with the drama forming in front of them.  It was also a hoot watching real people react to contrived film conventions reenacted in front of them as Bad Trip spoofed hokey rom-com and buddy movie clichés.  Whether the outsider emotions are baffled happiness or annoyed cynicism, it adds another funny layer to Bad Trip’s absurdist comedy.

I laughed, I was concerned, and I then laughed some more.  If you can check your worries at the door, strap in and take a ride with Eric André.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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