Festival of Beer

by Alan Rapp on August 25, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

Broken Lizard’s track record since Super Troopers has been pretty damn abysmal.  Club Dread (ugh!) and The Dukes of Hazzard (ugh!!) both stuck up the screen almost wishing you were watching a superior picture with Hilary Duff or Lindsay Lohan (almost).  Well the dry spell’s over folks, and it comes with the appropriate title too.  Beerfest certainly isn’t the smartest comedy of the year, but it’s pretty darn funny, and easily the best beer film since Strange Brew.

3 & 1/2 Stars

The same dumb funny humor that made Super Troopers a hit is back.  Too be fair, both Club Dread and The Dukes of Hazzard had half of that equation, they just forgot the funny.  But that’s all in the past.  Get ready for Beerfest!

Taste’s Great!

After the death of their grandfather (Donald Sutherland), two brothers (Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske) travel to Germany with his ashes.  There they discover the secret underground competition known as Beerfest.  Teams of five from countries around the world compete in different events to crowned champions every year.

After being humiliated and thrown out of the competition, the pair decide to put together their own American team and return a year later to kick some ass.  They round-up three old friends (Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Jay Chandrasekhar), each with a specific beer related skill, and spend the next twelve months training (and getting really drunk).

The film isn’t exactly, or in any way, highbrow.  But lowbrow humor can be just as effective if done well.  It has the feel of a Mel Brooks’ comedy in its tone (and casting Cloris Leachman in one of the supporting roles).  The film that it can be most compared to is Strange Brew.  If you liked that type of humor then crack open a bottle, ‘cause this one’s for you.

The film also contains subplots about the grandmother (Leachman) and the true ownership of the Von Woflhouse Beer Factory.  Really the plot is just there to allow the crew to insert as much beer humor as possible (which turns out to be a few dozen kegs worth).  There’s nothing subtle here; the comedy is straightforward and in your face.  There are some clever references to other films including Rocky III and Fight Club as well.

Chandrasekhar still finds ways to draw out relatively unfunny jokes too long, but there are nowhere near as many of those as in his last two films.  Though not as funny as Super Troopers, it’s a huge improvement that will help wash the bad aftertaste of the group’s last two films out of your mouth.

Is it a great film?  No, but it’s damn funny.  Broken Lizard needed to show me something with this film to prove they weren’t just a one-hit wonder, and they did.  Raise you mugs, lads and lasses, and take a long swig of Beerfest.  Mmmm…foamy.

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