Far more popular in its native Canada than in the United States, The Trailer Park Boys have never the less found a cult following south of their homeland. The first film, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie found an audience on home video a few years back and now Screen Media Films brings us the latest adventures of everyone's favorite white trash Canuckleheads, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown To Liquor Day.
For the uninitiated, the movie (and the series it was based on) follows the misadventures of three friends who all live in the same Nova Scotia trailer park - a bumbling pompadour wearing small time pot farmer named Ricky (Robb Wells), his buff but rather dim pal Julian (John Paul Tremblay), and the strange bespectacled and kitten obsessed Bubbles (Mike Smith). The park is watched over in Gestapo like fashion by an alcoholic former cop named Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth) and his perpetually shirtless, hamburger-eating right hand man, Randy (Patrick Roach). When this chapter in their lives begins, Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are let out of prison and head back to their trailer park only to find it abandoned and in shambles. It seems that a clean and sober Lahey has come into some land and opened up his own deluxe trailer park and that pretty much everyone has moved in over there. Lahey's only got one problem standing in his way, however, and that's that the township is insisting he tap into the old sewer lines rather than run new ones, and those old lines go under Julian's land.
At the same time, Julian is putting into motion his four year plan to turn his trailer into Success Auto Body and run his own business while Ricky is trying to get his grade twelve high school diploma. Lahey tries to swindle Julian out of his land but he's not interested in selling. As all of this is going on, Bubbles is trying to get his twenty-seven kitties back from the SPCA but doesn't have the money to pay for their veterinarian costs. The boys launch a few schemes to make some cash and help Bubbles out, while Lahey and Randy start having relationship problems once a stressed out Lahey starts hitting the bottle harder than ever before.
Filled to the brim with booze and dope references, crass dialogue and completely stupid antics, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown To Liquor Day delivers the same kind of comedy that the series and the first movie provided, but here it isn't quite as focused. Yes, the movie is still plenty funny but so much of it feels completely random that it often feels a bit disjointed. Shot to look and feel like a documentary or reality TV show, the cameras move around a lot and the somewhat chaotic look of the film heightens that sense of chaos and this isn't always a good thing. The principal cast all play their parts really well and do a fine job of staying in character, but the script meanders and sometimes things feel a bit padded.
That said, the good outweighs the bad here. Lahey's character is given plenty of time to shine with John Dunsworth really going for it. His relationship with Randy is more fleshed out here, literally, and their screen time this time around is generally the best part of the movie. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles still bring in plenty of laughs but Lahey and Randy are so far over the top in how they act towards one another and react to the different characters that you can't help but laugh at it all.
A fun subplot involving the boys' wannabe rapper friend, J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens) and his DJ Tyrone (Tyrone Parsons) is pretty hilarious (make sure you watch through the closing credits) is good for a few laughs. A subplot involving a potential romance for Bubbles isn't fleshed out as much as it could have been though, and you get the impression that a lot of comedic gold was left untapped there. Ultimately, the movie is good, but not on par with the better material that these guys have produced. This is supposedly the end of the line for the characters, and they could have ended it all on a better note than they do here, but they also could have done much, much worse.
The movie looks alright in this 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The transfer is crisp and bright and free of any compression artifacts and edge enhancement. The reality show style of filming that is used isn't always the best way to assure great detail and image stability but more often than not the picture is very clean, though obviously inconsistencies are going to occur. While not a great transfer, it's certainly watchable enough.
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track on this DVD comes with optional subtitles in English and French. While this isn't a particularly aggressive track most of the time, rears are used to fill in some of the more chaotic moments in the picture and the dialogue, which almost always comes from the front of the mix, sounds nice and clear. The score is mixed in well as are the sound effects and while stronger bass could have helped a couple of scenes carry more punch, this is otherwise a very fine mix. An alternate French 5.1 track is also included.
First up is a commentary from Paul McKinnley and two other members/moderators from the Trailerparkboys.org website and message board. The creators of the series asked the three to do the commentary for the movie and they do what they can to keep the discussion going but without having had any direct involvement in the movie, it means that the vast majority of this track is the three participants really just kind of recounting what we see on the screen. There's a bit of trivia thrown in here and there and they have an obvious love for the material, but it's hardly packed with interesting stories about the production or the kind of cast and crew details you want out of a commentary.
From there, make your way through the Deleted Scenes that have been included. There are eighteen scenes here in total with a combined running time of 34:22 and while some of the material here was rightfully cut from the film, enough of it is funny enough to be worth a watch. There's a fair bit more here with Rickey and his family that might have helped flesh out his character in the film a bit more, and some amusing spots with Lahey and Randy as well. There's also an Alternate Ending (3:55) that expands on what happens to Lahey.
There are also three featurettes included here. Sunnyvale Stories: The Making Of Countdown To Liquor Day (17:08) is an amusing enough making of featurette that includes a wealth of behind the scenes footage along with the requisite cast and crew interviews which are done in character. It's pretty funny stuff, and it does a good job of propagating the whole 'reality TV/documentary angle' that they work in the feature. Randy Gets A New Look (4:04) shows how Patrick Roach got his head shaved for the movie and how his 'Sharpie do' was applied to his scalp. The Making Of The Car Chase (6:24) shows how the big finale was shot and how the stunt work was coordinated for the shoot - it's actually quite interesting and clever.
Trailer Park Boys: Countdown To Liquor Day isn't as focused as the series and first film that preceded it but that same sense of crass, manic humor that has made the characters as popular as they are is still here in spades. Screen Media's DVD looks okay and sounds fine and includes some decent extras, even if the commentary track isn't all that it could have been. While it isn't as good as what came before, it's still funny enough that established fans will want to check it out, while the curious can make do with a rental.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.