REVIEW: Beerfest [2006]

Score: 7/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: R | Runtime: 110 minutes | Release Date: August 25th, 2006 (USA)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director(s): Jay Chandrasekhar
Writer(s): Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter & Erik Stolhanske

“The greatest beer in all ze world”

The Broken Lizard comedy troupe are a definite example of you either love their brand of adolescent schtick or you revile it completely. Their fourth feature length film, I discount Dukes of Hazard because it didn’t star them or start in development by them, is no different than its predecessors. Being a steadfast fan of Super Troopers, begrudgingly having to be told to see it numerous times before my filmsnob judgment was assuaged, and a supporter of their inferior, but effective genre film Club Dread, I really enjoyed Beerfest. Its’ trailers perfectly encapsulate what you should expect in the film and it delivers on those promises. You will not learn anything at all, you will be grossed out, and probably offended, but it’s a blast experiencing it all.

Now I am not a drinker and knew of all the games put on display if not their rules. I am used to watching friends make fools out of themselves as they attempt to show their dexterity doesn’t deteriorate as they become more inebriated, so therefore felt at home watching the antics on screen. The five members of the troupe all play their roles nicely; their comradery off-screen once again lends itself to believing the relationship between them and know that they are having fun with us. Special mention must go to Jay Chandrasekhar who has directed each film along with co-starring. He is a brilliant character actor and shows range from film to film: hardnosed trooper general, British tennis player, and here, fallen fratboy, moneygrubbing street whore. He gets most of the biggest laughs when alluding to his prostituting, (the “Oh no, not again” vignette is absolutely priceless). Also, there needs to be mention of Steve Lemme who is almost unrecognizable as Fink with, as the Germans say, a bald “head covered in pubic hairs.” The physical transformation he has undertaken from his island prettyboy in Dread to the geeky scientist here is commendable and effective in helping the audience not grow tired of the troupe. They have always spread the wealth as far as lead roles go and it helps keep all their personas fresh.

The other reason to watch a Broken Lizard movie is to see serious actors cameo to make fools out of themselves. This was shown best with Brian Cox throwing his classical training out the window to have fun with the boys in Super Troopers. Beerfest is no exception as Donald Sutherland has a very funny bit part, along with Cloris Leachman having a blast with her horrible accent and whore-innuendoes. Overshadowing all of that, however, is the performance from Jürgen Prochnow. He plays the tough German badass that he is used to playing and it works well bouncing off the imbecilic grandsons at his call. I do have to express my disappointment in the audience, though, when one of the best inside jokes fell flat, (unfortunately I had to cut my laugh short due to the embarrassment of being the only one laughing), when Prochnow is in the u-boat saying how he had a bad experience in one before. The tongue-in-cheek reference to his Das Boot was a great addition to those familiar with film history.

So, if you’re looking for a movie where you can leave your brain at home, or want to watch others act like fools before your own kegger, I heartily recommend Beerfest. I do reserve the right to stipulate, that if you did not enjoy the boys’ previous laugh-riots, you probably won’t enjoy this one. It is an acquired taste for sure, but fans will be able to rejoice and look forward to when the troupe finally gets the often talked about Greek Road off the page and into cineplexes.

[1] From left to right: PAUL SOTER as Jan Wolfhouse, STEVE LEMME as Fink, KEVIN HEFFERNAN as Landfill and ERIK STOLHANSKE as Todd Wolfhouse in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ comedy “Beerfest.” Photo by Richard Foreman, Jr., SMPSP

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