I know what you're thinking! Triple Dog. Nope, it's not a skating maneuver. Yikes! And no, you're thinking of the Reverse Cowgirl, and this isn't that kind of flick. No, Triple Dog is a game. Think "Truth or Dare" minus the "Truth". The rules go something like this:
So, yeah. Streaking. Public urination. Shoplifting. Fooling around with Whisper, who it turns out is a cute boy and not one of the ponies from Horseland. Faking a seizure at a karaoke joint. Okay, I'll give you points for creativity for that last one. Along with these wacky shenanigans where everybody debases themselves and learns a valuable lesson in the process, Triple Dog also weaves in a secret Chapin's been carrying for the past five months. A girl from her old school leapt off a bridge to her death, and...well, was it suicide or was she pushed? What does all this have to do with Chapin being expelled? Will history...::gulp!::...repeat itself?
I'll be nice and start with the good stuff first. The girls are pretty ridiculously cute straight across the board, and even though some of the acting in the trailer made me cringe, it all seems fine in context. I'm always a sucker for seeing the same event retold from a bunch of Rashomon-y different perspectives, and there's plenty of that here. I like how one of these stories early on is visually reshaped midstream as the girls bicker about what really happened. That's...kind of where the praise ends, though.
Look, the flick's tagline is "I DARE U 2 PLAY", and the cover art looks like something snipped out of a Claire's catalog. You could write the review just with a quick peek at the box art and not be all that far off. Triple Dog is trying way, way, way too hard to be edgy and cool. Chapin really does come across as an R-rated Poochie. If she's not riding her skateboard, she's clutching it in her arms. Whoever penned her dialogue is so out of touch with everything, ever, that she says "hella lame" and uses "I'm peacing" as a verb (in not-teenager speak, this translates to "I'm leaving"). You're also treated to "chillax!" and "what the shiz?" used not at all ironically. Its biggest comedic setpiece drops the girls in an Asian karaoke bar with a really aggressive stereotype spouting off sterling dialogue like "Amblance, please! I have a kid in my ressaraunt, she having a see-zure! Salad? No, not food poisoning! See-zure!" All he's missing are buckteeth and a gong. The dialogue overall sounds like Juno if Diablo Cody had been hit in the head with a shovel. To set up a case-in-point, Liza's dare is to secretly hide out in Eve's brother's closet till midnight. ...and
"Ow, she bit me! Get the hell out of my closet."It's just...no. Picture your mom spouting off Kris Kross lyrics, maybe with a few F-bombs sprinkled around in there for good measure, and that's about as hip and edgy as Triple Dog gets. The girls generally settle for archetypes over personality, and there's not much of a reason to care about anything that's going on. The pace is agonizingly slow, especially those long stretches between dares where it's reams of dialogue and waiting for Liza to inevitably fall in love. Oh, man, and the sheer volume of Rock Band...I'm shaking my head as I'm typing that if it gives you a visual. The kids these days like Rock Band, right? Rock Band's cool. Do kids still say "cool"?
The last trailer I came across for Triple Dog painted it as more of a suspense/thriller, and that really doesn't come into play at all. If I have to spout off genres and use lots of slashes, it's more of a coming-of-age comedy/drama where teenagers engage in madcap shenanigans and learn handy lessons like "hey, outsider, don't be afraid to let people in so they can see how wonderful you really are!" and "hey, repressed girl, it's okay to cut loose every once in a while!" that you can see coming from a couple of time zones away. You have an ensemble cast of girls in their late teens/early twenties right in front of you. Have them tackle a rewrite or two. There are brief sparks of energy and imagination, but mostly Triple Dog limps around lifelessly. There just isn't a hook: bland characters, reams and reams of awkwardly "hip" dialogue, a completely unengaging mystery, and no real stakes to anything that happens. It's watchable enough for me to say Rent It if you're interested anyway, but buying it sight-unseen...? Not if you triple-dog-dared me. Geez. See? It's contaminated my writing too.
Triple Dog is presented on this BD-25 disc at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The video has been encoded with AVC.
This 16-bit, six-channel DTS-HD Master Audio track is kind of a mess. For one, it's mixed REALLY LOUD. I seriously had to dial my receiver down something like twenty ticks. Annoyingly, Triple Dog's dialogue is mirrored in all three front speakers at once. The placement of some sound effects is discrete, and cars and SUVs have a tendency to smoothly pan from channel to channel as they drive around, but a lot of other effects are duplicated in multiple channels. It just sounds incredibly awkward to hear the same exact effects swarming from both in front of you and behind. The bass is overcranked to the point where it's kind of obnoxious, really. I think I eventually settled into it, but the treble struck me as seeming kind of harsh early on. Maybe I should've settled for the straightahead stereo track -- in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 (224kbps) -- instead.
There aren't any dubs or commentary tracks this time around, and no captions or subtitle streams are listed on the Setup menu.
The Final Word
I was trying to think of some clever way to wrap this whole thing up, but all I could come up with was a lame Super Sloppy Family Double Dare joke and quipping that you couldn't triple-dog-dare me to give this movie another spin. Yeah, that's not going to work. I'll just cut my losses and say Rent It instead.