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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.46%
Worth A Look44.23%
Average: 3.85%
Pretty Bad: 19.23%
Total Crap: 19.23%

5 reviews, 22 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"We Salute You – Mr. Broken Lizard Drinking Contest Contestant"
4 stars

Trying to find their niche in the small history of successful comedy troupes from Monty Python to The Kids in the Hall, the gang of Broken Lizard have their following thanks to a couple of less-than-successful theatrical offerings which later found their audience on DVD and cable. Super Troopers, the cultish film fest fave from 2001, is the most recognized of their canon albeit one which I could never embrace despite a few truly hysterical bits. Their second feature, Club Dread (also directed by BL member Jay Chandrasekhar) truly upped my appreciation for their talents, merging their healthy dose of frat-type humor with an inspired riff on 80s slasher films. Beerfest, by title alone, would seem like either a setback or return-to-form depending on which film your Lizard loyalties lie. Such associations become moot though since any filmgoer off the street could head into this one dry and still find something hard to laugh at.

Brothers Todd & Jan Wolfhouse (Erik Stolhanske & Paul Soter) have just lost their grandfather (a hilarious cameo I invite you to discover for yourself) and are taking his ashes to spread in the motherland of Germany. Their urn mistakes them as competitors for an underground drinking tournament and as they witness this Fight Club arena of quarters, jugging and beer pong they come face-to-face with granddad’s greatest adversary (Jürgen Prochnow) who still accuses him of stealing his family’s greatest beer recipe. And their grandma (Cloris Leachman) of being a notorious whore.

Humiliated by Prochnow’s team of trained drinkers, they head back to America and are determined to win back their family’s honor by putting a team together and beating the Germans at their own heritage. Old school mates, Phil “Landfill” Krundle (Kevin Heffernan), fired for drinking forty-plus beers from the brewery assembly line; Steve “Fink” Finklestein (Steve Lemme), a brainiac Jewish scientist (and frog masturbator) who relishes the chance to take on the Krauts; and Barry Badrinath (Jay Chandrasekhar), fallen back as a man-whore giving out BJ’s, HJ’s and ZJ’s (“if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”) all sign up and commit to a year of training to get their bodies and throats in prime drinking condition.

It takes 25 minutes for the Lizard gang to finally get together in the film and the early scenes may keep even their biggest fans at a distance wondering when the laughter is coming. All I can say is to just be patient. The prospect of five guys doing nothing but drinking for 110 minutes is a one-joke premise just waiting to go wrong. But there’s enough silliness and adult humor to go around. For every flat dead joke there’s a huge laugh coming up. And when all else fails, make an unsubtle reference to Jürgen Prochnow’s time as a U-boat commander.

Beerfest certainly isn’t sophisticated comedy by any means – as you can probably guess if you’re still stuck on the words “frog masturbator.” It’s encouraging though that the gang has been able to take all the drinking clichés we repeat during happy hours and find different riffs on them to still create high comedy. An entire scene of the trainees crashing an underage party would have been an easy trim and the mystery of Leachman’s supposed whoredom gets old fast, but its worth sitting through to get to Lemme’s plum line at a funeral (maybe the film’s most out there laughs; remember his goat line from Club Dread?) and Chandrasekhar’s pair of morning afters for which there is no pill to rectify.

Comedy (especially of the frat alternative) is all in the eye of the beholder of course, so if your cup of tea isn’t mixed with a little alcohol you may be unwilling to go with Lizard’s brand of humor. Just take comfort that the banner of “National Lampoon” doesn’t take ownership of their title. I don’t know if Broken Lizard have really created an identity for themselves the way those others troupes did – and that’s fine as long as the laughter continues with consistency. If you want to warm up with their repertoire, go ahead and start with Super Troopers (even though any episode of Reno 911 contains more laughs) and then settle into Club Dread which I urge people to go out and rent even if they have no plans to attend Beerfest. Belching is kept to a minimum and thankfully no extended vomiting scenes are there to unsettle our stomachs. In other words, a pretty good night out after two near straight hours of drinking.

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originally posted: 08/25/06 14:00:55
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User Comments

8/15/08 Shaun Wallner Never laughed so hard in my Life!! 5 stars
8/08/08 Greg Funny as hell! Loved it! 5 stars
11/21/07 Vincent crapfest 1 stars
9/26/07 Brian Mckay The premise is milked dry 2/3 of the way through, but very very funny at times. 3 stars
9/19/07 Ben Larson What a piece of garbage! 1 stars
7/17/07 ES This was so good 5 stars
1/21/07 David A. One or two mildly funny bits, but mostly stupid. Don't waste your money! 1 stars
1/16/07 Indrid Cold As long as BL makes a return on their investment, they'll continue to churn these out. 2 stars
1/09/07 BIggy b wat the fu#$ is a ZJ and i have the money 5 stars
12/07/06 Luke I loved this movie. Haven't laughed so hard in a while. "Not again" 5 stars
11/27/06 Monkeyfrog Awesome movie 5 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Scattershot shenanigans, but fun to the last drop. 3 stars
10/01/06 Beau utter shit, a waste of money making this film, it would pass as a porno 2 stars
9/13/06 Ryan Michael hard to bt S Trooprs great commercial for a boot shaped glass 4 stars
9/13/06 Edward Connell Your thirst for entertainment will be quenched by the activities in this film. 4 stars
9/12/06 Michael Coovert Not only nothing special, but actually disappointed me - boring, predictable comedy attempt 2 stars
9/05/06 your worst goddamn nightmare if you can't sheise, get off the krapper... 4 stars
9/04/06 Jenny this movie gave me a headache 2 stars
8/30/06 Ole Man Bourbon Quite enjoyable. 4 stars
8/26/06 great haha me so horny 5 stars
8/26/06 michael dont let the title scare you away 4 stars
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  25-Aug-2006 (R)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006



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