Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Title: Beerfest (2006)
Dir: Jay Chandrasekhar
Rating: *** out of 5 stars

I LOVE Super Troopers. Who the hell doesn't, right? And I'm one of the oddballs that actually liked Club Dread from the moment I saw it, and it gets funnier with every viewing. I didn't particularly like Puddle Cruiser, but I never held it against Broken Lizard, since it was their first film and they were in college. Plus, their follow-up more than made up for it. This brings me to their fourth and latest film - Beerfest.

When American brothers Jan and Todd go to Germany to spread their dead grandfather's ashes, they discover an underground beer-drinking competition in Munich. After being defeated by some cocky Germans, they vow to train themselves so they may one day to kick the Germans' asses in the beer competition. So they recruit some old college buddies to help them, and together they train for their return to Beerfest.

Let me say, I'm not a big fan of college/party/beer/stoner movies. Animal House? Half Baked? Never saw 'em (hold your gasps, please). Sure, PCU was cool, but mostly because of Jeremy Piven. I don't find humor in chugging beer and burping loudly. I especially don't find humor in watching total strangers do it on the big-screen.

When Beerfest behaves like that, it is at its worst. But putting those juvenile jokes aside, it has some really funny moments, especially for fans of Broken Lizard. Out of their main three feature films, I consider Beerfest the weakest. And yet I've seen it twice and would see it again. It just makes me laugh.

This film is a lot more like Club Dread than Super Troopers, in terms of pacing, style, humor, and characters. There is more emphasis on beer and titties than on quirky characters and funny dialogue (like in Troopers). If you thought Dread was juvenile, you'll likely feel the same way about Beerfest. But I think Beerfest is funnier (even if I prefer Dread). I enjoyed the horror spoofing in Club Dread, and the quirky characters (especially Paxton - "son of a son of a bitch!").
Beerfest avoids these elements and focuses on jokes with the central 5 guys, along with Lizard alumni like Nat Faxon, Philippe Brenninkmeyer (German man from Troopers), and MC Gainey. There are also two very old, very famous actors in this who will surprise you.

In summary, this is very much a 'frat boy movie.' In fact, I recommend you see it when drunk. But thanks to its likable cast, I still enjoyed Beerfest. Brilliant it ain't, and there are a few awkwardly unfunny jokes, but it's a good time nonetheless. See it in theaters if you love Broken Lizard. Otherwise, you might want to wait for the DVD.