APRIL 13, 2018 -- The Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) and the studio lists Tony Vidal's latest film - "Baja" - as a comedy. By definition comedy is a drama with ironic situations or an ironic outcome that inspires laughter. Classically it is the opposite of a tragedy which is a drama with situations of human suffering or distress that induces sadness.


I mention this because while watching the film I had to reaffirm that it is classified as a comedy and not way of inducing distress for the viewer. While it didn't make me sad (save of the time lost watching it), neither did it inspire me to laugh.


Vidal cast Jake Thomas as young twentysomething store clerk named Bryan who doesn't have any control of his life. His boss at a sporting goods store bullies him into never taking days off while dangling the title of assistant manager trainee in front of him. His parents (Cynthia Stevenson and Kurt Fuller) bully him by making him do chores during whats left of his free time while they galavant around the universe living their second childhood.

His best friend Todd (Chris Brochu) is living off a trust and is carefree about everything, including Bryan's life. His two female friends, Jessica (Michelle DeShon) and Lisa (Arienne Mandi) have their own little issues. They all come together when Bryan's parents tell him to drive their $600 thousand motor home to Baja Mexico while they're living the dream. Todd convinces Bryan to take he, Jessica and Lisa along for the ride.


The only one interested in merely driving the motor home to Baja and back is Bryan. Lisa wants to track down her estranged father. Jessica needs film footage for her film class test. Todd is smuggling cell phones for a Mexican cartel; he found out at the last minute that he had blown through his trust and was now broke. Bryan in the meantime has picked up a hooker named Carmen (Zoe Corraface) who is indebted to the cartel.


Naturally, one thing leads to another and find the friends running for the lives after the cell phones got stolen. Oh, and the motor home gets confiscated, because the cell phones were stolen. Plus, Bryan's debt to the hooker is mounting steadily. Lisa discovers that she bares a striking resemblance to a famous singer from the same area they are visiting, which is also where her estranged father resides.


While all this could have led up to a bunch of laughs if guided properly...alas it works out to be a string of scenes of a road trip gone bad. There are no gags that induce that laughter I was waiting for. And while the talent is not serious, neither are they funny. They seem to be trying but the prformances fall as flat as a pancake.


To the film's credit, the landscape shots are lovely and a credit to Jorge Roman who has plenty of experience filming Mexican vistas.


"Baja" is simply not funny for it to be classified as a comedy. Even a little adolescent stupidity could have helped it, but instead we get blah!   -- GRADE D --   GEOFF BURTON