The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It

This review begins with a caveat. Despite its Netflix ubiquity and cult phenomenon status, I've never seen the Trailer Park Boys TV show, nor have I seen either of the two films spun off from it. For that reason, jumping into the franchise for the third movie might not have been the wisest idea. I could follow the story (it's pretty simplistic) and I quickly grasped the personalities of the characters. But there's no doubt that a lot of Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It is rooted in the history of the franchise. Will it appeal to fans? Probably. Newcomers such as myself will struggle to understand what the fuss is all about.

True to the title, our heroes are a bunch of guys who deal pot in a trailer park. Julian (John Paul Tremblay) has devised a scheme to get rich: he's going to sell clean urine to people for when they have to take drug tests. This entails driving a large quantity of pee to Montreal to sell to a middleman. Tagging along with him are best buds (pun intended) Ricky and Bubbles. Ricky (Robb Wells) recognizes that the Canadian government's plan to legalize marijuana threatens his pot-selling business, so he wants to protest it. The optically-challenged Bubbles (Mike Smith) has inherited a home and some land from his deceased parents and is eager to check it out. As the three make their journey, they are chased by their nemesis, trailer park manager Lahey (John Dunsworth), and his perpetually-shirtless sidekick, Randy (Patrick Roach).

The style of humor in Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It is similar to that of The Office or Parks & Recreation. Like those popular shows, it is filmed in “mockumentary” style, as though the characters are being recorded by a documentary crew. They occasionally address the camera directly to comment on their own actions. The movie also has a propensity for playing very absurd things incredibly straight. This admittedly provides a few laughs. I chuckled at a running gag about the fact that Ricky's car can only go in reverse. Perhaps the funniest joke is that Randy is always shirtless, no matter how inappropriate the weather, situation, or location.

Once you figure out the goofball tone of the comedy, Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It starts to go down a little easier. Although there are certainly some funny bits, the problem – at least for newcomers – is that it just isn't funny enough. I kept waiting for the movie to really let loose, to get crazy with its ideas about pot legalization and all the potential ramifications of the subject. That never happens. Ricky eventually gets his moment to address a roomful of politicians, yet the story lacks the satiric sting it seems like it should have. Marijuana legalization is a hot button issue, ripe for boundary-pushing humor. Don't Legalize It oddly pulls back at the very moment when it should be charging forward with all its might.

The actors do a good job creating and inhabiting their characters, with Mike Smith's Bubbles being the standout. I'm guessing fans already know that. It's possible that Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It is filled with jokes that only pay off if you've followed the boys' previous exploits on television and in film. If you're a fan, have at it. If this is all new to you, don't start here.

( out of four)

Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It is unrated, but contains adult language and copious drug content. The running time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.

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