There's something strangely reassuring about the fact that a modest, low-budget, underachieving comedy like Trippin' can coexist in America's multiplexes alongside such billion-dollar commercial monoliths as Star Wars: Episode I. Trippin' isn't necessarily a good movie, and, as the 80th film this year to climax during the prom, it certainly isn't particularly distinctive or original, either. But it's likable and unassuming in a way that more technically impressive teen sex comedies—Varsity Blues, the forthcoming American Pie—just aren't. Deon Richmond stars as a black, high-school Walter Mitty who dreams of being a success but is unsure about what he'll do following graduation. Luckily, one of Richmond's teachers is a Positive Role Model who tries to steer him and his nogoodnik buddies away from gangs and drugs and toward college and careers. Not surprisingly, Trippin' indulges in the now-obligatory practice of alternating foul-mouthed, booty-slappin', eye-bugging physical comedy with simplistic go-to-college, practice-safe-sex, stay-away-from drugs-and-improve-the-race sermonizing. Needless to say, the film's peculiarly mercenary moralizing—much of its self-help rhetoric revolves around college as a means of getting fancy cars, gorgeous women, and power—rings hollow. Likewise, a romantic subplot featuring Richmond's courtship of an upwardly mobile prom queen, as well as scenes in which nefarious hoodlums mess with Richmond's friends, seem mighty arbitrary. But for the most part, Trippin' ambles along agreeably, throwing in just enough funny throwaway gags to keep things moving. Intermittently funny and good-natured, Trippin' won't disappoint its target audience, who are pretty much the only people likely to see it in the first place.
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