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DVD Review - I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell - DVD out now
by Jason Whyte

Tucker Max. If that name doesn’t ring a bell to you, you’re not alone. Yet there is an amount of people out there that follow the exploits of a party-going blowhard who has slept and drank his way through his adult life, and has lived to tell about it in a best-selling book of the same name. In addition, he has a website he regularly updates with his exploits.

The film adaptation is more of a comedy dealing with three best friends who are off to a bachelor party, much to the objection of the groom’s bride-to-be but all by the insistence of Tucker who will stop at nothing to have a good time. Unknown to the two friends, Tucker has plans of his own and likes to try new things. Tucker is played by Matt Czurchy, who you may remember as Rory’s rich boyfriend in “Gilmore Girls” and has the right balance of charm, wit and character in him to make him a major star down the line. This isn’t the film that will propel him forward, mind you.

The movie goes all over the map when they go to a private strip joint. When one of Tucker’s friends -- who has just been dumped and hates the world -- meets a stripper with a heart of gold, the film surprises us in the quick wit and cut downs that she has in return to his anger. And she’s a mean video game player and can kick his butt on “Halo”. Yeah, this wouldn’t happen in reality, but I liked how Jesse Bradford and Marika Dominczyk handle their scenes together.

Oh and if you’re into shit gags, this one has a wowser of a finale involving something along the lines of what was put into Bradley Cooper’s drink in “Wedding Crashers” (the infinitely better film even gets mentioned). This is far from what I would consider a great comedy, but it does have some interesting dialogue and characters in a sea of misogyny. And I was surprised at how much I laughed at lines I know I shouldn’t have.

Video: How does the disc look?

I saw this film theatrically on a gigantic screen with a razor-sharp picture, perfect framing and focus…that is, the previews and commercials were. As soon as the film starts, you think that something is wrong with your monitor. The film immediately begins on a rough looking, DV-cam shot “Cops” style scene where cops bust in on the wrong house. When the film moves onto the next scene (the rest was originally shot in 35mm) the image looks washed out, lacking detail and rather flat looking. Some of the stylistic choices in the film, from joke-nightmare to flashback sequences, look like something out of a cable TV show.

Colors are dull, the image is a tad TOO bright at times and it really just looks like the cinematographer didn’t care. All in all, this is an underwhelming image, but it IS in tune with what I saw theatrically. Again, this isn’t a problem with your monitor, rather just a production that really didn’t spend a lot of money on its photography.

Also I’m kind of baffled as to why this film is in the scope 2.39:1 ratio (it was shot in the Super 35 format), when 1.85:1 widescreen would have suited this film nicely. The compositions look too cropped and close-up to really make an issue for widescreen.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty much exactly what you would expect. It is pretty centre channel oriented with good surrounds for the music score and soundtrack tunes. The dialogue sounds fine and easy to hear, and if you’re needing a bit of subtitle assistance, English and Spanish subtitles are included.

Extras: What’s on this thing?

A very scant release. The only feature on the disc is about twenty minutes of outtakes. The disc also says the film is “unrated” but it appears to be exactly the same as the theatrical cut. There are also a few trailers for other E1 Entertainment titles.

(If you’re feeling limber, hit up the Youtube page for the film and you’ll see a multi-city tour to promote the film featuring an obnoxious host who insults everyone he meets. Obviously this promotional idea didn’t work out in the long run, so perhaps that’s why it isn’t included on the disc.)

Bottom line: “I Hope They Serve Better in Hell” sold far more copies of the book than the film adaptation, of which fizzled in its scant, small release across the US and Canada. This is far from a good OR bad film, rather it just sits somewhere in the middle. I was quite impressed with some of the writing and in particular the performances from the three leads. Matt Czurchy, in particular, is a star in the making and here’s hoping he gets better work down the line. It still shoots itself in the foot with inept filmmaking and some truly horrific acts of bad behavior that only exists in the movie world. If you were a fan of the film…well, you get the movie on the disc and that’s really about it.

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 01/28/10 06:24:44
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