A change of scenery can work wonders.
And Trailer Park Boys 3: Dont Legalize It – the first movie in the series to leave Sunnyvale Trailer Park behind is, not coincidentally, as rudely and crudely funny (and strangely endearing) as our fave Canucklehheads have ever been on film.
In the best tradition of road comedies, TPB3 sets up its travel itinerary quickly. As the movie begins, schemes are afoot. And the trailer park itself is Anarchy Central, following the stroke suffered by the drunken superintendent/villain Mr. Lahey (John Dunsworth), whose hairy, shirtless, longtime companion Randy (Patrick Roach) is reduced to playing nursemaid.
Upsetting the normal order of things even more, theres a hilarious opening-scene funeral for a regular character that underscores the otherwise desperate circumstances in the park. Bubbles (Mike Smith) is constantly bombed on Swish (booze made from water-soaked whisky casks) and living under J-Rocs (Jonathan Torrens) porch.
And the bumper pot crop that Ricky (Robb Wells) thinks will solve his money problems forever, is threatened by a federal government initiative to legalize marijuana (under PM Justin Trudeau, Im guessing).
Julian (John Paul Tremblay) is smuggling clean urine out of a Canadian Forces base with a plan to sell it to his drug-dealing frenemy Cyrus (Bernard Robichaud) in Montreal.
And when Bubbles finds out hes inherited property in Kingston, everybody has an excuse to hit the road with Lahey and Randy in hot pursuit, intent on planting cocaine on the boys and framing them back into jail.
The only TPB movie to be written exclusively by director Mike Clattenburg, Dont Legalize It has a more scripted narrative structure missing from the other movies, including a nicely-tied-together ending.
Theres also more clever wordplay than usual in the comedy, as when Ricky stands before a Parliamentary subcommittee and announces that if they legalize pot, he will sue the government radioactively for all the times hes been sent to jail.
The biggest surprise, though, is how much heart shines through with the subplot of Bubbles seeking out his familys legacy, to find touchstones of the childhood Ricky, Julian and Bubbles apparently shared. (How they all got to Dartmouth, N.S., will presumably be dealt with in the reboot of the TV series that will begin airing on Netflix this fall).
These three idiots arent friends by accident, and the constant, fractious, edge-of-calling-it-quits maintained throughout the film, makes Ricky, Julian and Bubbles more believable and inevitably entwined.
Relationship-wise, its a pretty good place to be if theyre going to have two more seasons of adventures on the small screen.
-JIM SLOTEK, SUN MEDIA