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Trip Out - comedy DVD / drama DVD review
TRIP OUT Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Christopher Clark, Taylor Coffman, Sean Galdo, James M. Hausler, Eco Lopez
Director: James M. Hausler   Studio: Westlake Entertainment
DVD release:25 March 2008   Runtime: 95 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, Japanese), Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English), Behind the scenes, Director commentary, "Shooting in Bulgaria," Trailer

Tommy (James M. Hausler) is a bit of an outcast. He doesn't seem to fit in at school, though he may like to. He sabotages every opportunity to be accepted as though he wouldn't be a member of any club that would have him.

Tommy's brother, Richard (Michael Mandell), is the polar opposite - popular with the girls, he knows everyone and everyone likes him. Things are easy for Richard; he loves his brother and has a smile for everyone.

Richard's friend Colby (Christopher Clark) is a rich, white-suburban gangsta wannabe. He wears a stocking cap year-round, is rarely without his headphones (as though he may need to mix up a gritty gangsta-beat at any moment). Colby is hostile to everyone but Richard, who is compelled to apologize for Colby's foul mouth and hateful anti-rhetoric. If someone gets in his way, he won't hesitate to tell them his opinion of them as soon as it occurs to him.

Trip Out follows these three high-schoolers through a fateful day. We see Tommy's day first, as he shuffles through with his head down. Although he has a bit of an altercation with the cheerleader Sasha (Eco Lopez), he fantasizes about her and wants her. He's conflicted; when he likes something, he rejects it. Colby scores some psychedelic mushrooms (the kids may call them caps, shrooms or magic mushrooms, according to Detective Friday), and Richard gets some cocaine (blow, flake, devil's dandruff, snow, toot, Peruvian marching powder). Richard and Colby do up the coke while Tommy naps after school. When he awakens, they mix up some shrooms with orange juice (OJ, sunshine drink, Sunny-D) and they head out to Sasha's party. All of these storylines converge at a crazy moment at the party. The boys are trippin' pretty hard when something goes wrong. They hustle out of there and to the climax of the story. For all his myopic, foul-mouthed ignorance, Colby almost says an insightful thing, but the moment is lost before it can do any good.

Trip Out is not a bad film for first-time director James M. Hausler, who also plays Tommy. The drug effects do not go the route of after-school specials and are not too fantastic, thankfully. The film is well put-together with an excellent orchestral score (odd for a low-budget film), recorded in Bulgaria. More films could benefit from this; it added a depth that I did not anticipate.

I say keep an eye out for James M. Hausler. We may be seeing some more fine work from him.

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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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