TRIPPIN' / (1999) ** (out of four)
By Blake French:
"Trippin" refers the daydreaming of a character as he fantasizes about being successful, popular, and having young, voluptuous, scantily clad women exposing themselves to him. The character's named is "G," a slacker played by Deon Richmond, a high school senior with nothing better to do than imagine himself as being powerful and rich. The biggest problem in his life is finding a date for the upcoming senior prom, and getting some money so he can afford to go. His parents (characters recycled straight from "The Nutty Professor," except not as funny) refuse to supply him with cash until he submits his college applications. "G" also has a teacher who tries to teach him to plan for the future, but he would rather waste his time with his two best friends, who waste most of their time.
"G" falls in love with the smartest and most beautiful girl in his school. Her name is Cinny Hawkins (Maia Campbell), and "G" knows he does not have a chance in hell with her. He soon gets the idea that if he makes himself look good and impresses her by lying, she will find him irresistible. Although at first Cinny wants absolutely nothing to do with "G," she soon finds him as an interesting young person and the two become friends.
"Trippin" would not be bad if it had any point whatsoever. It does contain an underlying message, just be yourself, but the execution of the material is juvenile and too immature. There are a lot of light-hearted scenes, and the movie is clearly not to be taken seriously, but with more thought there could have been some potential considering the amusingly exaggerated characters and the clever performances.
"Trippin" hits a few targets, but unfortunately they are the wrong targets. It knows how to develop romantic chemistry, and it is interesting to see a hopeless romantic become friends with the unlikeliest mate. There could be so much more though, if the characters were given more to do, and if they were better defined, and if the script provided more funny sequences rather than enlightening ones; this movie is about a nobody character in a shallow situation. Neither the tension nor stakes are high enough to hold attention. The film does manage to avoid falling into the contrived pitfall of clichés, standing on its own as an imaginative character study. You may not expect a movie like this to be too pushy on a moral theme, but that is exactly the case here.
What keeps the movie somewhat interesting is G's realization of maturity and struggle with peer pressure. There is a consistent and imaginative point of view, but it is not supported with equally effective dialogue. The romantic elements between "G" and Cinny are chemistry-rich and charming; this is the most enjoyable thing in "Trippin." The film also makes a good point about losers, but it feels as if the characters are following the script rather than making convincing choices on their own.
In short, "Trippin" is an amusing romantic comedy with imagination and colorful elements, but ultimately fails to a lackluster script. Rating: C+