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Canada's Funniest Criminals Balance Genius and Dimwit

By Sean M. Peters · April 16th, 2014 · Movies
eone_trailerparkboys3_theboys_1Entertainment One

Trailer Park Boys is a mockumentary/sitcom that explores the meaning of life through a comedic ensemble of drunken, perpetually stoned reprobates. In other words, it’s quite relatable.

Having signed an exclusive deal with Netflix, the boys — Ricky, Julian, Bubbles and the rest of fictitious Sunnyvale Trailer Park’s inhabitants — have revived their greasy antics for eighth and ninth seasons, along with a new feature-length film titled Trailer Park Boys 3: Don’t Legalize It. Written and directed by series creator Mike Clattenburg, the film premieres in Canadian theaters Friday, while American Netflix subscribers will have access to the film soon after its release. 

The new film’s synopsis is, like many scenarios within Trailer Park Boys, an awkward stalemate brought about by substance use and low intelligence: Ricky is disturbed to discover legislation is going forward to legalize marijuana — his criminal cash crop. Now, although one of the dopiest drug dealers to appear on screen, he must petition his government not to legalize it. Surely nothing could go wrong. (Note: A recent poll conducted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ranked Nova Scotia, home of Trailer Park Boys, as the leader in cannabis usage across Canada; a reported 15 percent of the province’s population over the age of 15 admits to lighting up.)

While most of the show’s plot revolves around crime, Trailer Park Boys is really an ongoing story about friendship. At the core of every good story is a semblance of relatability for its audience. We, as consumers, need to see a bit of ourselves in everything we support, and there are three very different approaches to the modern man in the comedic trio that fronts Trailer Park Boys.

In Julian (John Paul Tremblay) we find the drinker, a man who is never seen in the series without his trademark glass of rum and Coke.

He is the brains of the group but always schemes his way back into jail, despite every effort to evade the law. He is the straight-faced leader. 

Ricky (Robb Wells) is marijuana. He breathes it in as often as air. It is Ricky who grows a secret field of high-grade ganja during the show, sells it to prison guards, gets arrested and doesn’t mind his latest stint in the block because, hey, at least the dope’s great. Ricky is the trio’s loose cannon. Never has a character made track pants seem so fashionable.

Bubbles (Mike Smith) is the group’s innocent. His absurdly thick glasses magnify every pained nuance in his baby-doll eyes. Condolences to Smith, who is definitely damaging his vision for the role. While Bubbles always finds himself stuck in the middle of an especially ignoble caper, it’s almost never for personal gain: He is the sole crusader for dozens of Sunnyvale Trailer Park’s stray cats, who he personally dotes on like they’re his own blood. His primary financial burden is cat food, as he lives in a cozy shed (complete with a kitty entry door). 

This show has crafted an impressive supporting cast, some whose performances steal all attention away from the main trio. Of the large and diverse range of actors, three stand out: Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth), Randy (Patrick Roach) and J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens). Newcomers can identify Randy, former male prostitute, as the ever-shirtless man with a prominent gut. He’s assistant to the Sunnyvale Trailer Park supervisor, drunken Mr. Jim Lahey, ex-cop. Their chemistry as a comedic duo is consistently hilarious, including an intimate exploration of their complicated romance. J-Roc, an aspiring MC, is the loudmouth smooth-talker of the park: “I spin more rhymes than a lazy Susan/I’m innocent ’til my guilt is proven.” He can’t help but to finish a sentence with, “know what I’m sayin’?” He is a Caucasian who literally believes he is black. The show pulls it off without much awkwardness, a testament to Torrens as an actor. 

With two new seasons of the television series, a feature-length movie and touring live stage shows, you’d think this ensemble would be stretched thin. It turns out they’re working prolifically on other projects through SwearNet, the group’s burgeoning comedy network. It is the online home base for all of their collective creative pursuits as filmmakers. Charging only $4.20 a month (right?), users have access to regularly updated content at swearnet.com. SwearNet’s original aim was to compete with already established networks. Until we find out more, it looks like Netflix could be poised to absorb much of SwearNet’s content, including yet another movie the group made this year, titled Swearnet: The Movie. That’s a lot of work from such heavy pot smokers. 

CONTACT SEAN M. PETERS: letters@citybeat.com



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