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Featured DVD Review: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

January 25th, 2010

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell - Buy from Amazon

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is a lowbrow comedy that opened in limited release late in the summer. It performed better than I expected, both with critics and with moviegoers, but only because expectations were so very low. I was expecting its Tomatometer score to be mired in single-digits and its opening per theater average to be well below the Mendoza line. That said, I go into these reviews with an open mind, and perhaps it will benefit from lowered expectations. Maybe it will turn out to be a bit of mindless fun. After all, we could all use a bit of lowbrow humor now and then, right?

Matt Czuchry stars as Max Tucker, Geoff Stults as Dan, and Jesse Bradford as Drew. The film starts with Dan about to get married, so Max is throwing him a bachelor party and bringing Drew with him, who is still reeling from finding out his fiancée was cheating on him. Because there is a no-touch ordinance in their hometown, they drive 250 miles to a legendary strip club, but they have to lie to Dan's fiancée, Kristy. What follows is supposed to be non-stop debauchery, but in reality is 105 minutes of equal parts boring and dull. It tries too hard to be offensive, right until the massive change in tone during the oh so predictable "redemption" of Max at the climax of the movie. None of it works.

As characters, Dan is mostly nondescript and just gets bossed around by Max for most of the movie, until he finally snaps. It made no sense that he was ever friends with Max to begin with. Drew was supposed to be a really hateful person lashing out at all women, which is actually a normal response to being cheated on. Okay, it was over the top, but I quickly got the impression that Drew was the kind of person who talked a lot (partially because he had a large vocabulary and liked to show off) but who came off as a wounded child more than anything else. Also, Jesse Bradford's performance was mostly dispassionate, but I don't know if that's the fault of the actor, the director, or the writing. For instance, his speech on the pancakewich is supposed to make me believe he would do anything for this fast food item, but it didn't even make me believe he was even hungry. I'm not sure that speech failed because he was given bad direction, he didn't have the ability to pull it off, or if it was just the terribly dialogue he was given. But at least his performance was not offensively bad.

Matt Czuchry's performance as Max Tucker, on the other hand, was offensively bad. He is supposed to be charming, roguish scoundrel, but he comes across as a douche bag. An over-the-top douche bag who would normally be seen as the bad guy in bad Rom Coms. You know the type, the one that the female lead is dating, but everyone in the audience knows is wrong for her and who she will eventually dump for the male lead. Every time he spoke I was hoping one of the other characters in the movie would punch him in the face. Most of his "pick-up" lines involved him insulting the woman until they decided to sleep with him, which made absolutely no sense, even within the context of this terrible, terrible movie. By the end, just hearing his voice made me cringe. There is a very good chance that I will hate the next thing I see Matt Czuchry in because of how bad his character was in this movie.

Extras on the DVD include more than 24 minutes of deleted / extended scenes. I couldn't get through them. I just can't watch any more of the movie.

The Verdict

Crap. This movie is complete crap. It took me several hours to watch because it was so bad that I had to pause it and walk away more than a dozen times. Had I been a paying customer in the theater, I would have walked out within the first 30 minutes. Avoid at all costs.

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