Beerfest
Does this drunk make me look hat?

Theatrical Release Date: 08/25/2006
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Cast: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske

Due to the Man making me work to earn a roof over my head, I didn’t get to comedy troupe Broken Lizard’s “Beerfest” until just now.

And all I can say is, “Damn the Man”.

I’m a huge “Super Troopers” fan and even found enough enjoyment in “Club Dread” to purchase it as well. (The scene where they’re playing life-sized, live-action Pac Man is simply awesome).

So when I heard the Broken Lizard Guys (Chandrasekhar, Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Soter and Stolhanske) were back with a movie about an international beer drinking competition, I was locked, cocked and ready.

Chandrasekhar returns to his directing duties for the group and there is a very similar style to the film that fans of their other movies will recognize. You can tell they had a limited budget as some of the CGI shots involving the mass beer chugging can look a bit comical, but since this is a comedy, I almost prefer that it look cheesy sometimes.

To spice up the cast, some very interesting supporting actors got involved. First, there’s Donald Sutherland. Sure, he’ll do just about any movie that has catering but he’s great nonetheless.

Cloris Leachman has a nice little role as the grandmother of the two main characters, Mo’Nique brought a physicality and nastiness that added a nice spark and “Lost” fans will appreciate the cameo by M.C. Gainey (whom you may recognize better with a fake beard on).

While those actors added nice elements, the key supporting cast were the members of the German drinking team. They all do a really great job of bringing German stereotypes to hilarious levels but I would like to single out two of them, Will Forte and Eric Christian Olsen.

Forte has some great throwaway lines that you could miss if you’re laughing too much and Olsen made me laugh just by being on screen. He would just be in the back of a scene, looking or responding to the action in the foreground, and I would naturally focus on him and laugh.

And until I looked him up on IMDb, I couldn’t place where I recognized him from. He’s the guy who plays the young Lloyd in “Dumb and Dumberer”, i.e. the young Jim Carrey. Keep an eye on Mr. Olsen, he was about the only good part of that prequel and he’s hilarious in “Beerfest”. He may not reach Carrey’s fame and fortune but he’ll keep me coming back for more laughs.

Perhaps even better is that the patriarch of the German team is Jürgen Prochnow. He never fails to entertain me. I’m thinking of naming an award after him for all the gloriousness he brings to the screen (see “Wing Commander” and “Judge Dredd” as examples A and B).

Anywho, back to the beer competition … umm, I mean film. The great thing about seeing this at the late show on a Friday night is that the college kids are out and they’ve got beer. Throughout the film, I would hear bottles being knocked over on the floor and rolling down the sloped auditorium floor. And before that, there was a symphony of cans being opened as the credits began.

Now that’s the way to see “Beerfest”! (Don’t vomit in the auditorium, that’s just rude).

Although they post a disclaimer at the beginning of the film not to drink like the characters in the film, I think we all know this film will be the newest drinking game at campuses nationwide as soon as the DVD hits stores.

That isn’t to say I didn’t enter the theater without some trepidation. I was worried that the film would be much more like “Club Dread” than “Super Troopers” and only have a few funny scenes scattered in amongst too many expositional ones.

Thankfully, “Beerfest” is silly and goofy from about the 5-minute mark until the closing credits. Don’t bring any sense of rationality to this one, just sit back, crack a cold one and let the ride take you away.

I was laughing constantly and nearly had to fight off my friend who was reacting as if we were watching a six-year-old break dance at the Apollo Theater.

I’m giving “Beerfest” a 4 out of 5 and it would be the funniest film of the year so far, if “Little Miss Sunshine” hadn’t been released yet.

As this is The Sobering Conclusion, the ratings usually correspond to how many drinks you would need to enjoy the film. This is one of those cases where you could enjoy it completely sober, or kick it up and bring a case of your favorite frosty adult beverage and enjoy it on an entirely different level.

You decide.