Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Will Forte, Kevin Heffernan, Cloris Leachman, Steve Lemme, Mo'Nique, Eric Christian Olsen, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske. (2006, R, 110 min.)
REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., Aug. 25, 2006
Remember drinking games? You laughed really hard, made some new friends, got incredibly wasted. Maybe you were a little loud, a little vulgar; maybe you even made a complete ass of yourself. You wake up the next day, you're dehydrated, sore all over, there's a funky taste in your mouth, and you generally feel overwhelmed and confused. Remember that feeling? That's pretty much the experience of watching Beerfest. Though the filmmakers intend to elicit the wild fun of a night out, the experience is unfortunately much more akin to the hangover. You may not completely regret the night before, but you'd probably be better off without it. The Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Super Troopers, Club Dread) – comprising Chandrasekhar, Heffernan, Lemme, Soter, and Stolhanske – co-star and share writing credits for this celebration of all things alcoholic. While Super Troopers offered some genuine laughs, there's been a steady decline in the ensuing films. The plot of Beerfest is tailored to provide ample opportunity for Broken Lizard's schtick: vulgar gags and a handful of surreal chuckles. When American brothers Todd and Jan Wolfhouse (Stolhanske and Soter) are sent to Germany on a mission to scatter their grandfather's ashes, they discover the existence of Beerfest, a super-secret world-class competition of beer drinking. Furthermore, they meet their German cousins, the Von Wolfhausens, who greet the brothers with rabid bitterness, proceeding to drink them under the table. Humiliated, the brothers vow to return in a year and defend their family honor. The result is an excuse to spend the entire movie finding new and better ways to drink as much beer as possible. Cue outrageous antics. Gathering together their team (aka, the rest of Broken Lizard: Chandrasekhar, Heffernan, and Lemme), they crash house parties, drink ram's pee, and make their own beer. Ultimately, the team returns to Beerfest and more calamities ensue. The formerly amazing Leachman is unfortunately relegated to creepy old woman as the brothers' great-grandmother. But a few laughs can be found in the silly accents and lederhosen of the Von Wolfhausens. Director Chandrasekhar definitely has an oddly endearing screen presence and is easily the most likable of the group. But the vulgarity is so over-the-top and the decent jokes too few and far between. When the movie ended, I needed a drink, but not for the reasons that the movie intended.