Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar.
Written by Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan,
Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske).
Starring all of the above, plus Mo'Nique, Cloris Leachman, and
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 8/24/06
There was a freebie near my apartment for "Beerfest"
this week, so since I don't have anything resembling a life, I
rolled over to the theater to check this out. I have not seen
any of the other Broken Lizard productions ("Super Troopers" and
"Club Dread"), but I know that the few people that have seen both of
those movies swear by them, solidifying their cult status amongst
"Beerfest" is the biggest Broken Lizard
production so far; the trailer is pretty funny, but I was worried
that this one-trick pony might not be a good film.
Sure, it's nasty--just fucking vile at
times, it's so wrong in various sequences--but "Beerfest" gets
fantastic mileage out of its five lead characters, gratuitous
nudity, a strong main plot (underground Olympics in Germany based
solely around beer games) and tried-and-true ideas like
morning-after humor (relating both to sex AND getting totally
trashed at a house party), crass double entendres and European bad
guys. It's not an instant classic, but there are so many funny
bits that I am having a hard time remembering them all just two days
Jan and Todd Wolfhouse (Paul Soter and Erik
Stolhanske), brothers and heirs to the great Wolfhouse family
fortune--uh, this only includes the family restaurant/bar--go to
Munich to spread the ashes of their recently-deceased grandfather
(Donald Sutherland). On their trip, they stop through
Oktoberfest...and, while there, they are led to an underground
tournament run by proprietor Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhausen (Jürgen
Prochnow)--five-man teams representing every major country in the
world are competing in drinking games to decide the world's greatest
booze-swilling domain. Naturally, the Germans are the top
dogs...and, after Jan and Todd discover the tournament (and the
strange fact that there is no American team), they go out to find
three teammates who can train for a year to be ready for next year's
competition. The teammates include a ex-con/hot-dog eating
champion (Kevin Heffernan), a scientist (Steve Lemme) and a
down-on-his-luck male hooker (Jay Chandrasekhar)...and, over the
course of a year, the five men come together to train and compete
for the world's greatest/strangest championship.
"Beerfest" gets a slow start but once it
starts rolling, wow, was I rolling along with it. There is so
much wrong shit in this movie that I couldn't list it all here even
if I could remember it all, but between frogs getting jerked off,
ping-pong paddle rape jokes and the ex-con winning the eating
contest over a group that only included Asians, people in my theater
were strangely in love with some of this humor. Sure, some of
the laughs are straight-up, but "Beerfest" seems to fall in love
with some of the styles of 1980s comedies,
raunch-for-the-sake-of-raunch films like "Meatballs", "Porky's" and
others. It works, although I honestly still don't know how or
why it worked.
The cast is great; our five main characters
clearly have the chemistry down pat, as they have worked together
before...and, our supporting characters just embrace this, with the
German five-man team maybe embracing this the best. Prochnow
has been diving into a pool of shit for years now (lots of
straight-to-video movies and TV, mixed in with a large part in
"House of the Dead"), but he seems alive at 65 years old in "Beerfest";
Cloris Leachman, who I don't remember being lowbrow, is dragging
herself through the shitter in this film as Jan & Todd's
grandmother, but she's pretty funny...even Sutherland belches
onscreen three or four times before dying in the film's intro.
And, is that Willie Nelson in a cameo, too? Good stuff.
The film's gross-out quotient does get to
you after a while; every so often, it does make you squirm a bit,
and not in a good way. And like I said, it gets off to a bit
of a slow start. But otherwise, "Beerfest" kept my
packed-house audience pretty happy throughout the
night...check this one out if you've got the stomach for it.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard