The Trip

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Roger Corman

REVIEWED: 08-17-98

Would you want Bruce Dern to usher you through your first test flight of LSD? That's exactly what Peter Fonda does in The Trip (D: Roger Corman, 1967; with Peter Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Bruce Dern). Fonda plays a director of TV commercials who feels unfulfilled after a career of making vacuous crap and decides that the answer lies inside a sugar cube of the stuff. He hangs out with Dern in his groovalicious pad, reaches cruising altitude, and ponders the aura of a grapefruit at great length, before going for a nekkid swim and imagining that he's gonna die. In between hallucinatory fantasies of being chased by the Knights Templar, Fonda ping-pongs between helpless euphoria and cringing horror as he reverts back to the goo-goo Gerber Strained Peas phase. He eventually freaks and ejects himself from babysitter Dern's pad like it was a burning car; time for some adventures on Sunset Strip. Fonda wanders over to a laundromat where he pesters a customer and fascinates himself with the dryers, walks into a house to make friends with a little girl, and eventually finds himself at dealer/guru Dennis Hopper's pad (where Hopper sets his first record for the number of times the word "man" is used in a sentence). Finally, he returns to Planet Earth, only to find that AIP inserted an ending that went totally against the wishes of Corman, Fonda, and everyone else involved. Jack Nicholson himself penned the screenplay, which at the time seemed earnest and sincere, but now is hilariously stilted with Sixties hipsterisms. Corman was compelled to gobble some psychedelics himself before making The Trip. Watch for Corman stalwarts Dick Miller and Barboura Morris, as well as ingenue Susan Strasberg and some once-groovy rock & roll.

--Jerry Renshaw

Other Films by Roger Corman
The Tomb of Ligeia

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