One of the final lines spoken in the Trailer Park Boys television series was “the countdown is on!” which presumably referred to a showdown between Sunnyvale Trailer Park supervisor Jim Lahey, with his confidant/lover Randy, and the clan of white-trash rejects led by Ricky (Robb Wells), Julian (John Paul Tremblay) and Bubbles (Mike Smith).
Fans should be forgiven for expecting some sort of ultimate, balls-out confrontation with Countdown to Liquor Day. It’s supposedly the end, the conclusion to seven seasons and the true filmic adaptation of the TV show after the perfunctory Big Dirty. Fans should also be forgiven for getting annoyed, because that promise is not fulfilled. If the creators even intended it to be a final chapter, which they probably should have, Countdown is a disappointment, a spinning-of-the-wheels for a program that, for most of its run, remained exciting and edgy.
The plot, if you could call it that, rambles in a number of directions. The trio are out of jail again, Julian has plans for a legitimate car-repair business, Ricky eyes his Grade 12 equivalency and Lahey has quit drinking.
None of these things last, of course. No customers come by Success Auto Body. Lahey hops back on the wagon after one beer. Ricky fails his exam. I always wondered whether the show’s repetitive plot structure was some kind of comment on the inescapable cycle of poverty, or if it was just lazy writing. I didn’t do much wondering here.
This is not to say the film isn’t funny, because it is, but there’s a nagging sense of boredom. Most of the cast members appear to be tired of their narrowly defined quirks –those that do appear, anyways. The show had a great group of supporting roles, but favourites like Philadelphia Collins, Sam Losco, Cyrus and George Green are reduced to mere visual cameos. When I recently asked director Mike Clattenburg why the auxiliary characters were ignored, he said it was a result of editing. There was too much material and not enough time. Fair enough, but I’m here to review the movie that was made, not the one that will feel complete through supplementary DVD material.
As an attempt to move the characters from one medium to another, Countdown is better than Big Dirty, but as a capper on a long and surprisingly involving narrative, it’s a failure. The previous film tried to appeal to those unfamiliar with the show, but it didn’t really work because, well, are the mildly curious a good target audience?
This one is no more epic (or laugh-inducing) than three or four episodes strung together. Perhaps it captures the spirit of the source material, but why bother? Should a movie based on a television show feel like a television show? Why would anyone pay 11 dollars for that?
Staff writer Jesse Skinner tackles anything and everything thrown his way but has a natural bent for film, music and current events.