Judge Steve Power is gonna get his Grade 12. Once he has that, he can pretty much do anything.
Our review of Trailer Park Boys: Countdown To Liquor Day (Blu-Ray), published February 19th, 2010, is also available.
"The funniest Canadian movie ever made!"—Steve Newton, Georgia Straight
After seven seasons, a handful of TV specials, and a few too many rum and cokes; the boys from Sunnyvale Trailer Park are finally riding off into the sunset (again). Does Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day give the gang a proper send off, or is it more akin to hucking out the trash?
Facts of the Case
Out of jail (again), Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles return to their home turf only to find that things have changed. Superintendant Lahey, now clean and sober, has converted the park into luxury digs, and the old stomping grounds are all but deserted. Julian tries his hand at an auto shop, Ricky goes for his Grade 12, and Bubbles struggles to regain custody of his "free Range" kitties, cruelly imprisoned in the local animal shelter. Things go pear-shaped in short order, and the usual foul mouthed hijinks ensue.
When the first feature, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, hit Canadian theatres, there was a considerable amount of flack from the hardcore fanbase. Many felt it was a needless picture, designed to mass market the boys to the casual onlookers and those unfamiliar with the day-to-day tomfoolery of the Sunnyvale Trailer Park, and they were right to an extent. While the first film built in a little redundancy to make it more palpable to those who weren't intimately familiar with the show, it definitely felt like a TPB feature should have. With Countdown to Liquor Day, the opposite is more the case. The larger scale of the first film is completely gone, replaced by what is essentially a good-bye letter to fans who stuck with the show from start to finish. This film feels more like a prolonged episode, with multiple plots that never quite mesh, and a more "TV-budget" feel.
The approach works at times; there are no needless character intros or rehashed bits, and other times it makes the film feel more like a jumbled mess than any kind of straight ahead narrative. The biggest problem however, is that the laughs don't quite flow at the frequency you'd like them to. That's not to say it isn't funny; but there are more chuckles than out and out gut-busting laughs. The whole affair really feels like a 45 minute episode stretched to 100 minutes, which leaves a little bit too much dead air and lowers the laughs-per-minute ratio to barely tolerable levels.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
While I can't say it's the funniest Canadian movie ever made (Sorry, Steve Newton), there are definitely more than a few laughs buried in this film. There's a reason why these characters have endured seven seasons worth of TV, several specials, and two theatrical films; just like there's a reason why people south of the border know these knuckleheads from my neck of the woods by name. They are damn entertaining. There's a certain stigma attached to the word "Trailer Park," and it's played in spades. Canadians may frown upon these Maritime losers the same way Americans look down their noses at hillbilly and redneck humour a la the Blue Collar Comedy Tour (only bitingly clever), but the boys from Sunnyvale are cut from a cloth we can all identify with. You can definitely draw enjoyment from these clods, if you're in on the gag. The detractors are just missing the point. The fact that the show is set in Nova Scotia is pointless; it could just as easily be Newfoundland, Ontario, Arkansas, or Nebraska.
Technically, the disc is a fine effort. The picture is about what one would expect; it's hard to knock the lo-fi presentation when that's the general intent. The audio treatment is similar, free of hiss and distortion, but hardly stellar. There's a decent stable of extras included as well, but the commentary track, featuring a group of guys who run a TPB fan site, falls a little short. There's a 'making of' feature included, that's brief, but contains quite a few chuckles, and some deleted scenes and an alternate ending round out the package.
Ultimately, we've seen all of this before. The game hasn't changed much, and while the hardcore fans may ask, "And why should it?" I'm left with a strong feeling of déjà vu. The Trailer Park Boys were fun while they lasted, and I'm hoping we've really reached the end. If you have all seven seasons, the first movie, and the Xmas Special (Complete with "Conky" finger puppet!), then Countdown to Liquor Day is just for you!
Between the last episode of Season Seven and then the "good bye" TV special, this film just doesn't have to exist…but that doesn't mean it ain't funny. Free to go.
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