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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day

February 20th, 2010

Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Trailer Park Boys started in 2001 up here in Canada and became a cult hit with its mockumentary style focusing on three trailer park residents: Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles. After seven seasons, various TV specials, and a previous movie, the franchise finally ends with Countdown to Liquor Day. Hardcore fans of the TV series have probably already pre-ordered the movie, but will it work for more causal fans? What about those who have not seen the show previously?

The movie starts off where the previous special, Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys, left off. Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are in jail. (This is not a spoiler, as they generally start and/or end every adventure in jail.) They are freed, leaving them all with goals and needs of their own. Bubbles, for instance, wants to get back his kittens, which were taken away from his home while he was in jail. Julian, on the other hand, is trying to start a legitimate business so he doesn't end up back in jail and wants to hire Ricky when he gets his G.E.D. However, they need a little startup money, so instead of taking the corrections bus from jail back to town, they steal a corrections van and rob a liquor store... sorry... they forcibly solicit charitable donations at gunpoint. There's a reason they spend so much time in jail. Meanwhile, since the three were sent to prison at the end of Say Goodnight, Jim Lahey got sober, had a bit of luck, and is in the process of tearing down Sunnyvale, his old trailer park and home to the three guys. He's now the owner of Lahey's Luxury Estates, which is an upscale trailer park. However, thanks to a screw-up by his assistant and partner, Randy, he needs to buy out Julian's plot in order to hook up the sewers.

As old conflicts arise, plans fall apart, and old friendships are tested... what's this? A mature plot in Trailer Park Boys?

If you've never seen Trailer Park Boys, the show is a mockumentary look at the lives of three men that live in a trailer park. They are easy targets and the show could have been nothing but stereotypes and cheap laughs. However, the writing is incredibly sharp. An excellent example of this is a scene at the beginning of the film comparing and contrasting Julian's and Ricky's interview with the parole board. Julian says he plans to start an auto body shop, while Ricky says he's going to grow pot. His justification: it costs too much money to keep him in jail, so he knows he's going to be paroled. For fans of the series, this movie is for the most part a great way to end it. Some have complained that a few long-time characters are missing, including lackeys Cory and Trevor. While it might have looked good on paper to see more characters, I fear it would instead have turned into a parade of cameos, getting the in way of an otherwise good story. And this movie does have a good story. It has all of the elements that made the show great (the heist, breaking the fourth wall, etc.), but it feels more theatrical, with stuff they couldn't do on TV (like the car chase scene). It doesn't just feel like a double-length episode padded to a 100-minute running time, which was my biggest fear.

I do not have the DVD to review, but I don't think there's much of a difference between that format and the Blu-ray. That is to say, none of the extras on the Blu-ray push the technology. The first extra is an audio commentary track with three fans of the show. Since they didn't have a lot to do with the making of the movie, they don't have a lot of inside information. There are 18 deleted scenes and an alternate ending with a total running time of 38 minutes. There is a 17-minute "making-of" featurette, a four-minute look at Randy's new image, and a six-minute look at the making of the car chase scene. This is on par with wider releases, so it is excellent for a smaller film from Canada.

As for the film's technical presentation on Blu-ray, it's mixed. Granted, it looks much better than the TV series looked, but it's not a top-tier release. Then again, no one expected it would be. There are some shots taken from security cameras and the like, and that's never going to look sharp. That said, the Blu-ray only costs $1 more than the DVD, so it is the obvious choice here.

The Verdict

Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day wraps up the franchise in a way that should please the vast majority of fans. If you are new to the franchise, you can jump in for the most part, but I would check out earlier releases first, just so you know the characters better. The Blu-ray doesn't appear to have any additional extras over the DVD, but the price is right. Easily worth picking up and even a contender for the rarely-awarded Puck of the Week.

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Filed under: Video Review, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day