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Overall Rating
3.13

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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Beerfest
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by Doug Bentin

"So it's come to this, has it?"
2 stars

Thinking about Broken Lizard’s new comedy “Beerfest,” which is something I wouldn’t have been doing if I weren’t being paid to do it, W.C. Fields came to mind. I always liked the way a Fields character would do everything badly, make all the wrong life choices, and still end up a success at the final fade out. The man was a living satire on the American Dream.

The characters in “Beerfest,” following the same template, also come out as victors—that’s only a spoiler if this is the first movie you’ve ever seen—but Broken Lizard is not out to satirize the very ideas that make America what it is, but is merely content to parody the cliches of sports movies. Ho hum.

Paul Soter, the scruffy-bearded one, and Erik Stolhanske, the almost handsome one, play brothers Jan and Todd Wolfhouse. During a visit to Germany to return their recently departed grandfather’s ashes to his homeland, they get sidetracked to the site of Beerfest, the annual brew-gulping tournament, a sort of Olympics of drinking games.

Their German cousins kick their butts, insult the entire American branch of the family, and run them home.

Now, this is all pretty silly, and it’s supposed to be. Broken Lizard founder and film director Jay Chandrasekhar has a nice eye for sports movie cliches, especially when it comes to camera placement--how hard is it, really, to deflate the clichés of sports movies--but this mastery of the mediocre becomes as boring as the stuff he’s making fun of when it is extended to characterization. All the Germans are the same—blond, arrogant, and Wagnerian to the core. Just think of every cliché you know pertaining to Germany, and here it is. Ditto Australians—all drunken sailors itching for a fight. It’s the kind of national stereotype that wasn’t all that funny when John Ford used it in “Donovon’s Reef” 40 years ago.

So the brothers go home to recruit some superior beer drinkers to form a team for next year’s Beerfest. The team is made up of Kevin Heffernan, the fat one, Steve Lemme, the Jewish one, and Jay Chandrasekhar, the Indian one. Hey, if they can reduce the rest of the world to tired cliches, I can do it to them.

Cloris Leachman is on hand as their grandmother, just to show us what senile dementia has done to her character from “Young Frankenstein,” and as much as I love her I wish she’d stop being a good sport and accepting these humiliating bit roles. Jurgen Prochnow is the head of the German branch of the clan with a performance he thought up in the shower. The funniest guy in the cast is Donald Sutherland in an uncredited cameo. There’s another surprise appearance at the end of the movie that gets a big laugh, too.

Oh, and one more point comparing this flick to a pair from W.C. Fields. “Beerfest” clocks in at 112 minutes. “The Bank Dick” ran 72 minutes, and “It’s a Gift” ran 73. It’s hard to maintain comedy and almost impossible to do so for two hours when there’s only really one joke that drags on way too long, a brewhaha of loud dialogue, hit-or-miss sight gags, and taste that is not just bad but has gone way too many days sans toothpaste.

And if Fields could do no right and still come out smelling like a rose, Broken Lizard smells like a waterfront urinal. It’s all in what you want to smell like when you make the film.

Broken Lizard, its fans tell me, is an acquired taste. The same can be said of tripe.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15074&reviewer=405
originally posted: 09/08/06 04:43:01
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User Comments

1/15/09 PAUL SHORTT AN EXTRAORDINARILY IRRESPONSIBLE CELEBRATION OF BINGE-DRINKING 1 stars
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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Aug-2006 (R)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006

UK
  08-Sep-2006

Australia
  28-Sep-2006




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