For a lot of Canadian TV fans the Trailer Park Boys are like old friends, with a history that stretches back over seven seasons, multiple specials and now, two feature-length films.
And in that sense, the Boys’ latest – and reportedly last – offering, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown To Liquor Day – feels like a welcome visit from those buddies after a long separation. And yes, it’s nice to see them after so long, but you can’t help but feel things have changed.
Except in matters of plot. The new film starts like many of the seasons did, with the Boys returning from a bid in jail to find the park in upheaval, launching them into a battle with nemeses Randy and Mr. Lahey who in turn try to disrupt Ricky, Julian and Bubbles’ latest get-rich-quick scheme.
Wells/Ricky (left), Mike Smith (Bubbles) and Tremblay/Julian (right) at the Toronto premiere
Mind you, it’s not the writing or the gags – (Julian’s (John Paul Tremblay) omnipresent rum and coke or Ricky (Robb Wells) butchering of the English language – that are tired.
Rather, there’s a sense the characters themselves are bored with their own existence – a fact underscored by J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens) and Tyrone (Tyrone Parsons) suffering a falling out over the continued pursuit of a career in rap music.
That path proves slightly more redemptive for those characters than it does for some of the others, but while die-hard fans might draw frustration from the steady climb in production values that has distanced the product from its humble beginnings, non-partisan viewers may find the story line simply lacking.
Torrens(right) and Clattenburg at the TPB Toronto premiere
The bottom line is this is a Trailer Park Boys production and includes thorough reference to the show’s past as well as the fingerprints of it’s longtime creator and head writer Mike Clattenburg.
Still, non-fans will likely balk and die hards may arrive at the same realization the Boys do when they make this last return from the jail. Sometimes, you really can’t go home again.