Trippin’

Two parts hilarious, one part dull
★★★
☆☆
Released: 
1999
Director: 
David Raynr
Starring: 
Deon Richmond, Donald Faison, Guy Torry, Maia Campbell
The Setup: 
Kid has to learn to reign in his fantasy life, get the girl, and fill out those college applications.
Discussion: 

This is a relatively low-budget little comedy that came out in '99, wasn’t promoted very thoroughly, and vanished pretty much without a trace. I saw it back then, and was pleasantly surprised at how funny it was. So I was a little unsure if it would hold up now, or if it would just be awful and juvenile, but I decided to risk it and—surprise! It holds up! For the first hour, anyway.

We open with a super-luxury house in Hollywood, where Greg, who goes by the name of G, awakens and humps his bed. He dances around in an outrageously sexual manner, like he’s in a music video, while a song plays, “He’s got it, everything. G’s got it, everything.” He is soon joined by two busty hootchie mamas. Then he wakes for real, in his lame room in his lame house with his lame family.

His dad lectures him about filling out college applications, which G is strangely reluctant to do. He just doesn’t want to think about the future at all. As his parents lecture him, he fantasizes that they go on a college tour with him, basing their evaluation of each school on the amount of women there willing to put out, his mother making it quite clear that she doesn’t want her son to have to work too hard for no poon. One of the women opens her bikini top and invites G to bury his face in her breasts, and when he comes back to reality he is licking his fried eggs. Then you are like “woah, for a high-school comedy, this is really raunchy!” And it is. And that’s gooood.

Then G goes to school, where he meets his friend June, a good-looking player, and another goon whose name I forget. June is selling stolen CD players at school, and totally, harshly disses this girl he asked to the prom, even though she already bought her dress. They then go to class, where they have an inspiring Denzel-type teacher who is delivering a unit on the Harlem Renaissance. He shows them a film, “Mission: Life,” which quickly fades into G’s fantasy that he is an acclaimed author. He recites his new poem, entitled “Don’t be fuckin’ with my shit,” which drives the crowd insane and causes his teacher to marvel at his eloquence.

But what of romance? G is smitten with Cinny, and goes up to her only to have her be an ultra-cold uber-bitch to him. She’s like “Okay, we’ll help you save face. We’ll smile, and you just walk away, okay?” I personally don’t understand the whole black culture thing of insulting each other and being really mean until you suddenly become nice, but here it is. Cinny has a boyfriend she is not entirely happy with, at one point is described as “you Philip Michael Thomas-lookin’ fool,” leading G to have a fantasy in which he is the Terminator, and is about to attack the boyfriend when Cinny leaps over him and says “No! Don’t beat him down and make him cry like a bitch!” Meanwhile everyone is still on G to fill out his college applications. In the next scene in reality, Cinny, who as I mentioned was a totally cold mega-bitch to G, suddenly says she’ll help him study and gives him her number. Like I said, I don’t get it. Somewhere in here G lies and tells her he got in to UCLA, leading her to agree to go to prom with him. He then has a fantasy that he’s sort of a Hugh Hefner at college, with hot women presented for approval. He dismisses one with “Girl you too skinny. You need to get you a steak sandwich.” These guys are presented, and G makes one of them kiss his ass—but not really, he’s got a small Oscar-like statue of an ass, and he advises the guy to “really get in that crack.”

Back in reality the inspiring teacher is telling them to think about the future, and soon after G’s friends are advising him specifically NOT to think about the future. Ah yes, subtext is a delicate thing. Then June is asked to sell drugs, which he refuses, raising the ire of the local gangster kingpin. Meanwhile a rumor has been spread that G slept with Cinny, and she also found out that he hasn’t been accepted to college, so it’s all over for them. Then G has a fantasy in which he’s a layabout in a doo-rag, married to an obese harpy, when this other woman comes over and demands that G pay for the baby he’s given her. This leads to one of the most amusing exchanges, in which the wife says “Get out, get out, get out of my house!” and the mistress says “Yeeeah! And gimmie my bus pass back!” This causes G to freak out and realize “I’ve got to get real!”

SPOILERS [BUT NOT REALLY] > > >
So after this revelation, G realizes that he’s got to “keep it real.” This is about the hour point and makes this film an excellent example of the first two-thirds principle, as it all gets very dull and cliched as we have to resolve the story and learn lessons. G and the goon friend learn that June has been abducted, and go to rescue him. The gangster says “Once you see what options you really got you’ll come running back to me.” So you see—you’ve GOT to go to college! And whaddya know? As soon as G gets back home, he is accepted to some fictional college.

This is the rare film that announces it’s subtext with sung interludes between scenes. You will recall they started with “He’s got everything,” which eventually segues into “You’re so stupid,” to “Keepin’ it real.” And to show how very real G is keepin’ it, he rents the best tux he can afford and takes the bus to prom by himself. It gets unbearably ridiculous when, instead of just going up to Cinny and telling her what he has to say, for some reason he has to get up on stage and grab the mic and make his speech to the entire class. Anyway, she gets with him and then it’s over.
< < < SPOILERS END

Well you know, I have to take back what I said about this being so good. It’s good for about an hour, when the humor remains fairly raunchy and the fantasies are really out there. And you know, usually in movies when people get their fantasies, it’s all to kiss the prom queen [rather than %%#%$@ the prom queen] or get that varsity jacket from the big game, or whatever, but the fantasies here are pretty true-to-life and funny. But things take a nosedive at the hour mark, when lessons have to be imparted and the plot wrapped up. Everything just starts getting super boring and rote, like any sitcom you’ve ever seen before. It’s too bad, because everyone is good, especially Deon Richmond as G, and it’s fun to see a movie about high school that goes into what high schoolers really think. But whatever.

You can definitely live without it, but it’s a cute, funny, good-natured movie while it’s still operating at full capacity. I’d say you can just go ahead and turn it off at 60 minutes in. You’ve seen all that shit before.

Should you watch it: 

If you like, the first hour is funny and cute.