14 August 2009 | johnnyboyz
Though tripping and stumbling through a disjointed passage of scenes and skits, the film just about holds weight due to a small number of things in what is a 70 minute sprint.
The film adaptation of Tripping the Rift cannot much hold a candle to the cinematic transitions of both South Park and The Simpsons, but for what it is, the picture is a delirious and riotous journey through a very original and very creative diegetic world that seems to acknowledge the rules before deliberately setting out to break them. Going into it, I was unaware that such a show even existed; turns out, it's a meekly successful Canadian cable TV series that began at the start of the decade and ran for a while. The comparison I came to, and it might seem pretty obvious to those up on the show, was that it resembled a more adult version of Futurama. Some have complained, I read, that the film is nothing much more than previous episodes or ideas stitched together but, as someone walking in blind, this didn't affect my rating nor view. I respect that, with others, this will differentiate.
Tripping the Rift: The Movie sets the bar pretty low, but it hits slightly above where it aims. The film is all over the place, rough around the edges; inconsistent in its humour and feels the need to jump from jokes of the spoof variety to of the bodily function variety. But it's fine, if only to a degree; it's rude without ever really stooping to a level of demonisation or specific 'group' targeting while its screenplay, much to my surprise, actually provides its lead character with some genuinely funny lines. If you're basing your rating or recommendation factor on laughs alone, it provides enough for a watch, and at a mere seventy odd minutes, the piece shoots along at a rate that doesn't necessarily see it outstay its welcome. It arrives; it gives us a broad, broad palette of different sorts of humour; zips all over the place and leaves again without much fuss.
The body of the film is, in essence, just a bunch of stuff that happens to a crew of a spaceship. Whatever narrative it has, hasn't actually happened yet based on the equilibriums we're given. It concerns future events and a killer clown, gloriously sending up the T-800 from the Terminator films, sent back to kill the film's lead character, Chode (Root). But whatever, the plot isn't important to those that produced this; what is, is utilising whatever short runtime they have to deliver gags in the form of what Chode says; cramming in as many references to films that, presumably, the people that made this grew up on as well as somewhat pandering to a younger, more adolescent crowd with gross-out humour and sex jokes.
Chode's crew are an odd bunch of aliens, animals and robots; thrown together for whatever reasons by whatever events. There-in exists T'Nuk Layor (Garfinkle), an odd horse shaped alien; Whip (Jones), a chameleon-like character; Gus (LaMarche), a robot that, for some reason, comes across as to have a sexual preference as well as Spaceship Bob (Melendez), the ship's computer. Another crew member is Six, a would-be spitting image of the talent voicing her, namely Jenny McCarthy; whose character, rather disappointingly so, is a cyborg that exists purely for the gratification of the lead. The makers would like you to think the name is a pun on a TV show called Star Trek: Voyager, but let's all be honest with one another: it's so that adolescent boys can giggle at what her name might be if you were to drop the vowel and insert another one, thus, you transform her from her name into what she exists for.
You could take any of what happens in Tripping the Rift: The Movie and unfold it in any order you like. It is made up of a series of events and stuff that just happens, which forms the basis of some sort of adventure. It doesn't really matter what order a lot of what happens unfolds in, just as long as it does. But it's certainly chock full of energy, and there are certainly laughs along the way. Take the opening 'skit' for example, in which the crew are charged with protecting a young princess, on a separate planet, just prior to an address to a crowd. Nobody ever stops, looks up, and says "Hey, hold on. Why are we in a place called 'Solvinia', which looks like a set straight out of Frankenstein, and which seems to be populated by a mixture of people with French and German accents but all of whom speak in English, in which a five foot tongue, who sounds distinctly like Michael Madsen, is protecting someone we have had time to invest zilch affection with?" But hey, what can you do?
But the sporadic nature of the film doesn't grate as much as it most definitely should, even if it shoots from one scenario to the next; one minute in the aforementioned horror setting before zipping off to a jungle for some sort of out of the blue treasure hunt and then over to a suburban housing estate for a Desperate Housewives pastiche; all the time these odd episodes punctuated by near death experiences with the T-800 spoof character. Tripping the Rift: The Movie plays out like some sort of animation feature that a band of students have completed right at the very end of an animation course of some kind. True, it overly relies on other films and TV shows for the majority of its gags, which come about visually, but against all odds and for someone who went in blind; it actually-miraculously-kind of works out.