Screen Media Films // 2009 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Carlton (Retired) // February 19th, 2010
The only difference between you and them is a coupla drinks.
After seven seasons, one Christmas Special, one post-series episode, and a full length feature film in 2006; the Trailer Park Boys release a second and final film, Countdown to Liquor Day. For fans of the series, this is a good, but not spectacular ending to the show.
Julian, Ricky and Bubbles have been released from jail, only to return to a dilapidated Sunnyvale Trailer Park. Former Sunnyvale supervisor, Jim Lahey, has remained sober for two years and recently opened Lahey's Luxury Estates, a beautiful new trailer park which left Sunnyvale virtually empty. Unfortunately, a sewage problem in Lahey's Luxury Estates needs to be fixed, but the sewage line runs directly underneath Julian's trailer in Sunnyvale. Bent on starting an auto body shop on his lot, Julian refuses to sell his property, much to the dismay of Jim. Jim's anger drives him back to drinking and with Julian's business failing, the boys are back to their usual lives of crime with a crazed Mr. Lahey breathing down their necks.
Released three years after The Big Dirty (AKA Trailer Park Boys: The Movie), this is the final chapter in the TPB legacy. Countdown to Liquor Day concludes the series with aspects that feel completely familiar, but throws in a couple of new ideas. Like Season 7, Corey and Trevor are missing, but so is the Sunnyvale Trailer Park we have come to know and love. Sunnyvale is but an echo of what it once was, no longer recognizable with most of its trailers run down. Times have changed while the boys were in the joint; they are the only ones still living in Sunnyvale.
Countdown to Liquor Day rises above the first film because it doesn't waste time pandering to newcomers and reintroducing characters we have already watched for seven seasons. It throws us right into the mix without unnecessary explanation, and when Bubbles returns home to find his 27 "free range" kitties missing, we know that this will cause his character much anxiety. He discovers that the kitties have been taken to the animal shelter, where he will have to cough up $3000 to have them released. While Bubbles' love for his kitties is old hat, this part of the story provides a new twist in the TPB universe as Bubbles meets a possible love interest, something we have never seen him experience.
While I found the film only somewhat satisfying, we do get the usual treatment of great TPB dialogue. Everything we have come to expect is in full form, a healthy dose of Ricky-isms (for the non-fan, this is when Ricky makes up a word), great dialogue from J-Roc and plenty of mumbling from an extra intoxicated Mr. Lahey. Similarly to the first film, the story is simply a vehicle for watching the characters do and say stupid things. Too many shorelines- involving everything from an auto body shop; kitties; the relationship between J-Roc and T; and a subplot involving the shaved head of Randy, the Assistant Trailer Park Supervisor- make the film feel unfocused and I kept wondering when it would go somewhere. I'm not saying I was ultimately disappointed, because there are enough unexpected laughs to make it worthwhile, but this is far from the comedic gold we saw in Seasons 1 through 4. Once Mr. Lahey gets on the "juice" again at about the forty-five minute mark, the film picks up, ultimately leading to a car chase that is truly one of a kind.
It's odd to review the picture quality of a Trailer Park Boys film on Blu-ray, since these films are designed to have a documentary feel. The Blu-ray picture far exceeds that of the television show with much better detail and more pronounced contrasts, but this isn't hard to achieve since early seasons of the show were shot on video. This Blu-ray looks better than the standard DVD, but it is nowhere near a reference quality disc. Thankfully, this film revives the greatly missed character interaction with the crew from earlier seasons and we find characters conversing with camera and sound personnel every so often.
Countdown to Liquor Day has a fair amount of extras: audio commentary, deleted scenes (34 minutes), alternate ending, Sunnyvale Stories: The Making of The Countdown to Liquor Day (17 minutes), The Making of a Car Chase, and Randy Gets A Hair Cut. The deleted scenes are expansions of the numerous storyline tangents, many of which could have been chopped altogether, but like the rest of the film, we get enough funny tidbits to make the unfunny parts bearable.
The highlights of the extras are Sunnyvale Stories and Randy Gets A Hair Cut. Sunnyvale Stories is a featurette which interviews various people in the film, but since the TPB actors never appear out of character in interviews or on DVD special features, this plays the same way. They ask Ricky, Bubbles, and Julian what it was like to be starring in a full-length film and the responses they give, along with the crew, are maybe as enjoyable as the film. Randy Gets A Hair Cut shows Pat Roach (Randy) getting his head shaved for the film.
The low point of the DVD extras was the commentary. The case says nothing about who speaks on the commentary and there is a reason for that. It consists of three people from a TPB fan site sitting around talking about things they think are funny in the picture. Like myself, the speakers have a true devotion for the series, but since only one of the three people worked on the film (for about two days), the commentary isn't very informative. I found myself losing interest in what they were saying very quickly.
Countdown to Liquor Day doesn't reach the brilliance of the first four seasons, but still retains the Trailer Park Boys charm. It belongs with the later seasons of the show, not the best of the franchise, but has enough classic moments to make it worth viewing.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Screen Media Films
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Alternate Ending
* Deleted Scenes