Release Date: August 25th, 2006
Oh the humanity! What a great month it has been for those of us capable of displaying such an infantile sense of humor! First we are treated to the mindless yet refined antics of Will Ferrell with Talladega Nights, then we file in with groups of our closest and most like-minded friends to behold the camp-fest that was Snakes on a Plane, and now we round out the month with the return of one of the most heralded comedic troupes of our generation: the boys of Broken Lizard. And when I say “return,” I am not inferring that they have been gone by any means, but that they have been striking out lately.
2001’s Super Troopers was an instant classic and had a viral cult following, especially once it hit DVD. We (all the college aged hooligans of America) were treated to a very quirky, unabashed look at a group of Vermont State Troopers who had nothing better to do than wreak havoc on the roads of the state that brought us Phish; and we loved it! But since then Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske) have not been living up to the expectations that Super Troopers set forth with their fans; Club Dread was a mild bust, and their involvement in Dukes of Hazzard was noticeable but it didn’t save the film. So then what are fans to do? I guess the answer was that we were to hold tight and wait… Wait for Beerfest!
Beerfest is Broken Lizard’s latest offering of comedic genius; a film that is set with every college guy’s true desires in mind: it is a romp through a world of women and beer! The 5 of Broken Lizard return to somewhat familiar, but equally as over the top characters; Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske play two German/American brothers who are sent by their grandmother (played by the delightful Cloris Leachman) to take the remains of their dead grandfather to Munich and place them in the family resting place.
They soon find out that the family resting place was no cemetery, but a spot on the shelf during the largest underground beer drinking competition in the world, known as Beerfest. They also discover that they were not quite welcome at the fest, due to their grandfather having stolen the recipe for the greatest beer in the world. After being humiliatingly beaten by their distant German cousins (who have hilariously hokey accents, another awesome Broken Lizard touch), they return to America to put together a team of drinking champions, which would include a frog fertility scientist (Steve Lemme), a human “Landfill” (Kevin Heffernan, best known for his show stealing role as Farva in Super Troopers) and a well traveled male prostitute (Jay Chandrasekhar). Their goal – to defeat the Germans and win back the respect that was owed to their grandfather.
The rest, like Super Troopers before it, is a raunchy, hysterical, and vastly entertaining ride filled with as many memorable one-liners as any comedy could hope to be. And while the story is a really character-driven comedy, unleashing the infantile brilliance of this troupe, the touch of one of them is most notable. While he takes minimal credit for the ruckus entertainment on his own, director Jay Chandrasekhar is truly setting himself apart as one of the most intelligent and visionary comedic directors of his time. His ability to toss the audience around in a world of comedic chaos, and his attention to background detail are greatly appreciated by his fans, who will be up in arms about what a truly gut-busting experience he has created with Beerfest.
The other notable mark of greatness on this film is the amazing timing that these guys have in their comedy. Every joke, every drunken shenanigan, and every gratuitous incident of animal sexuality seem to hit at just the right moment, sending the entire audience into an uproar. It is just another one of those movies that you have to see with friends, as you will want to recount the various funny lines later in your day-to-day.
But then again, there lies the problem with this film – it is geared toward a very specific demographic. So if you are over the age of 35 or not a frat boy who refuses to grow up, then you may not be able to appreciate all of the humor. The gratuitous nudity and uncalled for use of animal sexuality humor may not have you falling in love with this one, but its infantile intelligence is something that can’t be ignored. I know that my mom wouldn’t like it, but every one of my friends would. For it’s target audience, Beerfest is no less than exceptional. And every frat house in the entire country will soon have Das Boot in their drinking arsenal!
The Upside: A hilarious film that captures the true spirit of drinking for sport! Broken Lizard has recaptured the magic that they had with Super Troopers and delivered a film that will tickle the fancy of college dudes everywhere!
The Downside: This one – clearly – is not for everyone. If you can’t handle their flavor of humor, this one is not worth a taste.
On the Side: The five members of Broken Lizard met while attending Colgate University, where they were all members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Also, Jay Chandrasekhar was listed in Variety magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch” list in 2001. Then he made Dukes of Hazzard…Powered by Sidelines