Good Only If Completely Smashed!


Beerfest (2006) Review 5
Director:Jay Chandrasekhar,
Starring:Cloris Leachman, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Jürgen Prochnow, Kevin Heffernan,Jay Chandrasekhar, and Steve Lemme
Length:110 minutes


World War II is over. “Beerfest” is the first American comedy to employ extensive German stereotypes without mentioning old Adolph and his crew at all (well, there’s a brief mention of a U boat, but that was a silly reference to Jürgen Prochnow’s most famous role). This would made the film somewhat refreshing were it not so otherwise bad.

Having tried their luck with a “real” movie in the form of “the Dukes of Hazard” Jay Chandrasekhar and his pals of the “Broken Lizard’ comedy troupe have gone back to what they do most (notice I didn’t say “best”): Dumb comedy with no redeeming features whatsoever. And this time they decide to tackle the controversial subject of BEER and the over-consumption thereof. This is their spoof of chopsocky, with college drinking games taking the place of Kung Fu.

Okay, the film begins at a funeral, Todd and Jan Wolfhouse’s (Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter) beloved grandfather (Donald Southerland) has just died, and has left them his restaurant. Their mother, “Great Gam Gam” (Cloris Leachman), tells them that ancient family tradition dictates that Grandpa’s ashes must be spread at a certain ceremony during Oktoberfest in Munich.

When they get there, they discover their great uncle (Prochnow) and their second cousins have long hated their side of the family for reasons that that are both reprehensible and understandable. The confrontation takes place during a secret “drinking Olympics” called Beerfest, and our heroes vow to restore their honor by entering and taking the secret world championship the next year.

Barry Badrinath (Jay Chandrasekhar), Phil “Landfill” Krundle (Kevin Heffernan) and Steve “Fink” Finklestein (Steve Lemme), all of whom were major alkies in college, begin training for the big show.

There is of course, the usual grossness, a bit of intrigue with an evil spy played by Mo’Nique, as well as universal bits of male bonding. But it escapes me why they would add grownup stuff like having wives and responsibility muck up the “animal house” atmosphere? That sort of stuff is completely distracting from the moronic comedy. It’s not done well in “Beerfest,” and unlike, say, “Talladega Nights,” doesn’t fit in this film at all.

The good news is that there are almost no genuine winces, and there are a few laughs, but only at the beginning. Good only if you’re completely smashed.