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April 5th, 2006:
Two brothers go on an adventurous trip to Germany to spread their grandfather’s ashes at the annual Oktoberfest beer festival. Upon their arrival, they stumble on a secret society that competes in a tournament resembling a fight club for beer drinkers. The two take part in the local tradition, but are quickly put to shame by the experienced Germans. Embarrassed by their performance and insulted by the residents’ disgraceful comments about their heritage, the siblings return to America, vowing to have their revenge. After assembling the greatest collection of beer drinkers and bizarre characters, they train for months and compete locally. Eventually, they are ready to return to Germany to try and outplay and humiliate the locals at their own games.What to Expect:
Beerfest is the fourth “official” movie from the comedy team known as Broken Lizard. The ensemble consists of five former fraternity brothers, Jay Chandrasekhar
, Kevin Heffernan
, Steve Lemme
, Paul Soter
, and Erik Stolhanske
, who all graduated from Colgate University where they were affiliated with a comedy troupe called Charred Goosebeak. Their films usually carry the “Broken Lizard’s” tag before the titles a bit a la “National Lampoon’s,” although the two should not be compared in terms of quality since the “National Lampoon’s” comedies have lately either been derivative theatrical disasters or direct to DVD duds. The Broken Lizard team is a bit more like what Matt Stone and Trey Parker would be if they understood the meaning of the word “subtlety.” The five possess a similar sense of humor, but contribute differently with their own unique personalities and Chandrasekhar in charge as the director for all of their projects. Article continues below
The Broken Lizard team had a quiet first movie effort in 1996 when they made Puddle Cruiser and actually toured it themselves around college campuses throughout the country, without a distribution deal. Their next attempt came in 2001 when they made their breakthrough with the cult hit Super Troopers. The small-budget comedy revolved around a group of adolescent Vermont state troopers (played by the Broken Lizard), who engaged in daily competition with local cops in between taking it easy and playing pranks on unsuspecting citizens. Surprisingly, the writing was clever and irreverent and avoided the gross-out, dumbed-down type of humor that would render it a complete farce. The movie was full of inside jokes, but its charming quality was that they were presented in such a way that made you think you were in on all of them. It was like watching a bunch of funny guys be funny, without being stupid. A few years later, the Broken Lizard troupe made Club Dread, which featured similarly amusing episodes, but received a shoddier reception from critics and a decidedly less successful run in the theaters. However, nothing compares to their most recent stinker, last year’s The Dukes of Hazzard. In their defense, the film was not labeled as a “Broken Lizard’s” feature as thankfully none of the guys had anything to do with the script. Additionally, all of them had relatively small roles, leaving the largest and least amusing parts for the “bigger” Hollywood stars. Jay Chandrasekhar still directed, but The Dukes of Hazzard is probably best viewed as an instance of artists catering to studio demands. Much bigger filmmakers have done so in the past, because in Hollywood, sometimes you need to make the films you’d love to stay away from in order to be able to make the films you want later. Hopefully, this venture will be worth it.
For Beerfest, the guys return to the basics as they have once again written the screenplay themselves and have snuck back into the lead roles, avoiding any unbearable big name actors in the process. With luck, they will be able to duplicate the sharp and effortless wit of Super Troopers. The Beer-themed story carries enormous potential for belligerently outrageous gags. Supposedly, the events take place at an immense Beerfest arena and the group’s chief adversary will be a wealthy German Baron, who owns a Beer company. Before the guys actually return to the Oktoberfest, they will first have to face a difficult obstacle in the form of angry German-Americans back at home. I can already imagine the ensuing mayhem, but I’m almost positive that like with Super Troopers, subtlety will not be completely abandoned.In Conclusion:
I’m sure that every frat boy, nay, every college student will want to see this film. It’s the type of idea that just has nearly universal appeal for the 15 to 25 demographic. Although I am concerned that the outrageous plot could spiral into slapstick, I think that the guys will have enough sense to keep it grounded. Quality wise, I think Beerfest should return some of the lost glory to the Broken Lizard team. Speaking in terms of box-office numbers, it should go on to become the most successful Broken Lizard project yet, thanks to the preposterous plot.Similar Titles: Super Troopers
, Hot Shots!
August 25th, 2006 (wide)
December 5th, 2006 (DVD)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Jürgen Prochnow, Cloris Leachman, Will Forte, MoNique Imes-Jackson, Blanchard Ryan
Total: 67 vote(s).
Action & Adventure, Comedy
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Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content, language, nudity and substance abuse