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  Beerfest Think Drink
Year: 2006
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Stars: Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Kevin Heffernan, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Cloris Leachman, Jurgen Prochnow, Will Forte, Nat Faxon, Eric Christian Olsen, Ralf Moeller, Gunter Schlierkamp, Mo'Nique, Blanchard Ryan, Donald Sutherland, Willie Nelson
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: It is the day of the Wolfhouse brothers' grandfather's funeral, and after a spot of gambling to make the day go easier, Jan (Paul Soter) and Todd (Erik Stolhanske) settle down to watch his final video message with the rest of the mourners. In it, grandfather (Donald Sutherland) downs three pints of beer on his deathbed, then pulls the plug on himself after a fond farewell, but he has secrets that the brothers could never dream of. They find this out when the grandmother (Cloris Leachman) sends them back to their family homeland of Germany with the ashes on instruction to scatter them there, but grandfather had other ideas...

Beerfest was yet another comedy from the Broken Lizard Troupe, written by and starring themselves in a vehicle they tailor made to their talents. A lot of people saw it as hopelessly idiotic, and it was one of the worst reviewed films they had ever released, but for their fans who were, after all, those who would be wanting to watch it, nothing would put them off. And rightly so, as it emerged as one of the team's stronger movies, with a boneheaded dedication to stupidity in humour that was almost triumphant as one gag in dubious taste followed another. Let's face it, you knew if you were going to appreciate a comedy about a beer drinking contest or not.

Just to stave off any accusations of them being irresponsible, Broken Lizard included a disclaimer right at the start, before the opening credits even, that stated if you were to drink the amount of beer that the characters do in this then you would, in no uncertain terms, die. This is written in big red letters so we know they mean it. Therefore everything that happens afterwards is entirely mitigated, right? Well, not really, as if this film has faith in anything it's that alcohol and lots of it will not turn you into a raging alcoholic, it will in fact transform you into a fun-hungry party monster, and you will be having the time of your life in the process.

So how do our heroes get to the Beerfest of the title? Well, they are met at Oktoberfest by a mysterious German who tells them that they must follow him - this is after starting a near riot by singing a lame (to the foreigners' ears) drinking song. The brothers are led into a strange part of town where after witnessing many weird things, they arrive at a large, locked door and once their guide offers the password they gain entry to Beerfest, a top secret Olympics of beer drinking games where various countries compete against each other. The Wolfhouses cannot believe their luck, then cannot believe their ears when they hear what the German organisers have to say about dear old grandfather.

Seems he stole the prized recipe for the greatest of all beers, and fled to America with his whore of a wife. This is not something the brothers are prepared to accept, but after being humiliated by their hosts, they return home with their tails between their legs until they resolve to go back next year and win, not only for the family name, but for the United States of America. Yes, there's a measure of patriotism about this, which you can take as seriously as you wish, but judging by some of the weird accents on the non-Americans perhaps you'd be better to approach it as part of the joke. There isn't much of a plot here, which leads the writers to go absurd lengths to create twists and tensions, but also fires them up to new heights of creativity in the service of dumb comedy. And this is funny, with enough self-spoofing to offset the relentless bad taste: one of these guys' better efforts. Music by Nathan Barr.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Jay Chandrasekhar  (1968 - )

American comedy director, actor and writer and a member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. Directed four successful Broken Lizard comedies - Paddle Cruiser, Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest. Chandrasekhar's big screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard was released in summer 2005.

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