Beerfest review by Drunky

Hollywood has been cranking out motion pictures for almost 100 years now. Naturally as time goes by, fresh ideas become tougher and tougher to come by. Dude searches for lost treasure? Been there. Homely chick becomes belle of the ball? Done that. U.S. team competes in international beer-drinking competition? Ahoy, these be uncharted waters – bring on the comedy!

Beerfest follows two American brothers in their mid 30’s whose German-born grandfather has passed away. Their great-grandmother instructs them that they must take grandpa’s ashes back to the homeland to the family resting place, and that this must be done during the upcoming Oktoberfest. Here they encounter the secret underground Beerfest, an annual international beer games and drinking competition, where they are summarily disrespected and humiliated. They vow to assemble the first American team and return in twelve months for reasons of national and family pride. Thusly the year of training will begin.

A little pre-chug smack-talk is always good form.

Time for sharing, because sharing is caring. For any who might not know, Oktoberfest is the historic annual festival in Munich, Germany. I’ve had the pleasure of attending. I tell you I almost went into the fetal position when I walked into that main tent. Talk about intimidating. The tent is huge – seems like the size of a soccer field – and it is PACKED shoulder to shoulder with people. The overhead you’ll see in Beerfest doesn’t even do it justice. Even in the supposed walking lanes you literally have to burrow through each person. I had a quick realization of how people get trampled to death at soccer games. There are rows of picnic tables with benches, but you’d never know they are as they are buried by people – standing on the benches…standing and singing on the tables. I thought I went mute as I tried talking but couldn’t hear my own voice, it’s that loud. With conversation rendered impractical all that’s left to do is drink, sway, slap strangers on the back and sing along to German drinking songs. Everybody’s got a huge glass mug of beer in hand. And I mean huge – a foot tall and big enough in circumference that if the small-handed tried to wrap both hands around it and have their fingers meet, they’d fail. And thick enough glass to withstand the abuse you’d expect at Oktoberfest. Those puppies are heavy. Drink two of those and you’ll be dancing the conga line with pink elephants. With heels on. You know how hard it is to dance with heels on. You’ll get those sores on the outside of big toe and they won’t go away for 10-12 days.

Apparently, those mugs are a fine treasure to be had as everybody and their sister tries to smuggle them out for a souvenir. I’ll forewarn you that the success rate is very low. Mug security patrols every tent exit, ready to search. I didn’t try myself but each of my three female companions did, using different exits. All three failed. The punishment for attempting was only mug confiscation and a dirty look. And maybe a little incomprehensible berating via the German-language.

But back to the movie. Funny? You betcha. The writing is good, but the onscreen talent supporting it is even better. The entire German drinking team is hilarious (including the likes of Saturday Night Live’s Will Forte and the underappreciated comedic stylings of Eric Christian Olsen) and they have a great repartee. They ham it up just enough to account for those of them with imperfect fake accents. Even the old people bring the entertainment.

It may behoove you to know that despite the cover of the DVD (see above), which is comprised of 50% cleavage, the flick doesn’t rely on the boobage too heavily. Ten seconds of self-aware “look at the ridiculous way we in which we whipped out some boobage”, which really just seemed like they felt they had to fill the minimum boobage quota, and that’s about it. (note to self: did I overuse “boobage” in this paragraph?)

The directing chops in this movie are niiice. From the opening scene I could tell I was in for a solid production. Much props to relatively young director Jay Chandrasekhar, who cut his teeth on Super Troopers, Dukes of Hazard and a few episodes of Arrested Development. The dude has put together some skills. Chandrasekhar (don’t try to pronounce it, do as I do: read the first syllable, begin to mumble the second syllable and then just move on to the next word) also plays a large role in the movie as team-member Barry.

The intimidating German team. Lederhosen = funny.

As if that weren’t enough, the special features on this DVD are more than fillers, they are happy little productions. There is a featurette on the history of beer, with a comedic inflection. Another where the cast shares with you some of their production-time after-hours drinking activities called “Party Foul.” Good stuff. And don’t you dare do yourself the injustice of skipping the deleted scenes. I cracked up over a dozen times just on those. They were the funniest deleted scenes I’ve ever seen from a DVD. They gave me belly pain. But it was a nice kind of belly pain, not like the belly pain you get from a swift kick in the intenstines from some guy who calls himself “The Fury”. The special features in this DVD actually accomplish the improbable by raising my overall rating of this DVD by one point (currently perceived as the maximum allowable).

A strong story as far a “dumb comedies” go, and quality production are going to carry you through the inevitable laugh hiatuses and have Beerfest delivering nonstop entertainment. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, you might try a beer. If you’re still not enjoying yourself, you might try getting “prude” tattooed on your forehead so at least I can see you coming. Then I can quickly pretend to engage in conversation with whoever is standing closest to me.

9 out of 10 Jackasses
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