movie

Netflix’s ‘Bad Trip’ Makes Genius Use of Hidden Camera Pranks

Bad Trip
Looper

Bad Trip Updates: Eric Andre goes to great strides in his Adult Swim anti-talk show to build as unhinged an atmosphere as necessary for his unwitting audiences, both on set and in the neighborhoods of New York City.

And when a star has a general sense about what they’re walking into, there’s no way of knowing if they’ll be welcomed by Andre turned into a hairless, bronzed showman (“Like crispy, crispy brown rice,” Andre informed Thrillist last season when advertising Season 5 of The Eric Andre Show).

“I tried every tanning method possible,” she says, or the plastic cockroaches would fall from the ceiling at any moment. Many walking down the street may come across Andre hanging from a third-story fire escape, (fake) crapping his pants in front of a group of spectators as he was filming stunts for a Sprite endorsement; still less lucky New Yorkers may come across a largely nude Andre on rollerblades screaming about authorizing ranch.

Bad Trip is a buddy road trip movie that was shot in the three years between Seasons 4 and 5 of The Eric Andre Show: Chris Carey (Andre) persuades his best friend Bud Malone (Lil Rel Howery) to go on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip from the hellholes of Florida to Manhattan in an effort to win back Chris’ unexpressed high school love Maria (Michaela Conlin) following an offhand remark she rendered after a casual encounter at the smoothie shop where Chris worked as an appalling worker.

Bad Trip On Netflix

Bad Trip

Thrillist Australia

Whereas other gimmick movies, such as Borat, which uses fish-out-of-water shock-and-awe to frequently reveal people’s hideousness, or Tim Heidecker’s Mister America, where it’s impossible to say which non-actors are actually in on the joke, flourish on reconditioned humiliation, Bad Trip avoids going for the throat with mean-spirited gotchas.

(This isn’t to suggest that any solution is “correct.”) Instead, the vast majority of unknown strangers—always the right candidate—are simply halted for consultation or intervention as good samaritans to cleverly advance the storyline.

Bad Trip, on the other hand, is far from “minor.” Extensive set pieces intended to draw in local randos—staging a musical number in a retail food hall, breaking through a gorilla habitat at a private zoo, vehicle explosions, disrupting a gala, etc.

Steamroll their way into the sequence, and the pinball impact of the massive, startling moments energizes the more “usual” ends. It would be impolite to give something away about the climax, but Chris and Bud do make it to New York to visit Maria, and a final move with the trio brings an end to the film’s clever choreography.

It’s not like all pranks ought to include projectile bodily fluids to be entertaining to watch—though there is one in Bad Trip that does—sometimes the prankee just has to have a nice time, too.

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Anshuman Ghosh

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