Mark Reviews Movies


½ Star (out of 4)

Director: Bob Gosse

Cast: Matt Czuchry, Jesse Bradford, Geoff Stults, Keri Lynn Pratt

MPAA Rating: R (for nudity, strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout, language and some crude material)

Running Time: 1:45

Release Date: 9/25/09

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Review by Mark Dujsik

A narrative with despicable people is hard to pull off. Watching and reflecting upon I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, an example of how not to pull this kind of thing off, my mind kept and keeps wandering back to one that works.

It's a TV show called "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a show about hateful, contemptible human beings doing some of the worst things you can imagine. It's also incredibly funny.

Some of the reasons include the fact that the characters don't know anything different except how to be deplorable examples of humanity. They're aware of their personalities, but they're not smart enough to change.

They also find themselves in situations that are so outlandish it's impossible to take the show as an astute view of the human experience.

On the other hand, we have I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, where the characters know better, are smart, and definitely have other possibilities right in front of them.

It's also based on the true stories of one Tucker Max, who has a blog (turned into a book) full of his different real-life escapades involving a bunch of stuff I'd rather not read about after seeing the movie.

There are a lot of words to describe Tucker, but he beats every description to the punch with the first line of his website (I'll let you discover it, if you're so inclined).

He is, from the evidence at hand in the movie, a smart guy. We see him as a law student, ignoring the professor but when pressed knowing the details of the topic at hand in class without batting an eye.

He's also a narcissist, a misogynist, a misanthrope, a selfish friend, and just jerk. I'm not saying anything that his character or other characters who encounter him in the movie don't say.

In the movie, he's played by Matt Czuchry, in a performance that's pretty good if the intended effect is that you want to sucker punch Tucker's character in the face every time he opens his mouth. Considering how unapologetic he is throughout the story, I think that is the deliberate point.

Tucker is in charge of his buddy Dan's (Geoff Stults) bachelor party, but he doesn't want to go to just any local strip club. Instead, he wants Dan and their mutual friend Drew (Jesse Bradford) to go out of town the night before Dan's wedding to a strip club where he has heard that anything goes. That Tucker lies to Dan's fiancée (Keri Lynn Pratt) about the trip after asking that her husband-to-be not leave town the night before their wedding is possibly the least of his offenses.

Apart from discussions about the road trip, the rest of the movie is comprised of Tucker telling anyone within earshot about his sexual exploits, which are typically twisted. When a woman at a local bar calls him out for being misogynist, he rips into her and continues to do so throughout the night until, finally, her friends realize how horrible he is. This, apparently, is not how things usually go for Tucker.

Thankfully, Tucker disappears randomly for a while, leaving Drew, who caught his girlfriend of many years cheating on him, to take over. Drew's a different animal, outwardly misogynistic, calling women all kinds of names to their faces and making jokes about murdering them.

It's all terrible, ugly (-looking too, shot far too overly lit), and not funny, and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell only gets worse when Tucker has his serious moment of revelation.

After his friends (finally) ditch him, Tucker craps out trying to hook up with a pair of girls at the bar and literally craps out after his toilet backs up, causing him to realize how selfish and narcissistic he is.

To apologize to Dan for what a selfish, narcissistic friend he has been, he interrupts the wedding reception to make a half-assed apology, because without his friends, he can't get what he wants. Yes, he has really learned his lesson.

Copyright © 2009 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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