What You Need To Know:
Strong pagan worldview of sexually active & imaginative young African-American men with strong moral parental figures & a moral conclusion; 74 obscenities, 3 profanities & many racial slurs; moderate violence performed in a comic manner including shooting, threats with gun, punching, threats with knife, kick to crotch, & man's arm ripped off; strong sexual content including sexual talk, implied fornication, heavy kissing, man licks food off woman's back, & many sexual advances; upper male & female nudity & woman wearing nothing but thong underwear; alcohol use; smoking & implied drug dealing character who tries to recruit young men to sell drugs by force; and, lying which is rebuked and corrected.
It seems that movies featuring African-Americans that aren’t about gangs fall into two camps. There are the tender serious family dramas about what it is like being a minority such as WHEN WE WERE COLORED, and then there are the highly sexually charged comedies like BOOTY CALL and PHAT BEACH. TRIPPIN’ tries to have it both ways, and becomes an endearing, but still sexually immoral, story of a young man who daydreams, avoids the drug dealer, gets the girl, and gets into college.
Greg (Deon Richmond), or “G” as he likes to be called, spends his days daydreaming about being popular, hanging out with women in bikinis in hot tubs and even more sexually charged ideas. His parents want him to knuckle down for final exams and then apply for college. During the day, G enjoys looking at the ladies and wondering if he can ever get Ginny (Maia Campbell) to like him and go with him to the prom.
Greg does eventually befriend Ginny, but she just wants to remain friends. Greg does eventually get around to applying for colleges, but all he gets are a bunch of rejection notices. Meanwhile, Greg and his buddy Fish (Guy Torry) are getting a strong-arm sales pitch from a local drug dealer who wants them to come work for him. The story suggests that if Fish and Greg don’t get accepted to college, they may have to work for the drug dealer.
Greg wants to win Ginny’s love and respect so bad that he lies to her and tells her he was accepted into UCLA. She finds out he told a lie and doesn’t want to see him again. Greg ends up going to the prom alone, facing the drug dealer in a final showdown, and overcoming his daydreaming to do well in the final exams, with the help of a supportive teacher.
With a few humorous elements, such as Greg’s Grandpa constantly asking for pork sausage and bacon, this movie resorts to a lot of the tried and now stale stereotypical horny black man humor. Greg even imagines his mother telling college recruiters that the schools better have plenty of sexually interested women. Sexual humor and obscenities abound in this movie.
Yet, Greg’s mother and father apparently have a strong marriage (which is good and rare for modern African-American movies, regrettably) and guide him with a firm but loving hand. Also, a teacher gets into the act and tells Greg he has choices. Finally, Greg apologizes to Ginny for lying and even makes up for it too, resulting in a happy ending.
Despite its positive qualities, TRIPPIN’ remains a low-impact, narrow market, stereotypical, and largely unfunny comedy. These movies are made on so low budgets that they still make an enormous return on their investment. Hence, more movies like TRIPPIN’ are bound to come. At least in this one the hero doesn’t act on every sexual impulse, and it is kindness and truth that win him the girl, not some smooth move. This is an improvement on the worst of this type of movie, but not much.