Imagine a two-hour home movie made by your idiotic drunken college buddies, full of in-jokes and childish humor. Now, slap on a minor plot, replace buddies with the boys of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, and you have Beerfest.
This is Broken Lizard's fourth feature, after they became minor cult idols with the stoner-fueled success of 2001's Super Troopers. This latest entry is stamped with their brand of silly, slightly surreal frat-boy humor: part Animal House, part Mel Brooks, with lots of sight gags and bodily fluid humor.
It's mostly hit or miss, as the script suffers from ADD, rolling from gag to gag with the haphazard wobble of the town drunk at last call.
The "plot" involves two brothers on a trip to Germany to scatter the ashes of their beloved grandfather, a task that leads them straight into "Beerfest," a hardcore underground tournament of drinking games (Beer Pong, Ultimate Quarters, etc.). They find bitter rivals in their Bavarian cousins, who accuse the Yanks of harboring a stolen family recipe for the world's best beer, and promptly drink them under the table. Predictably, the guys return to build a team of misfits to help win the Beerfest title and regain their family honor.
Aside from toilet humor, the film relies on ethnic stereotypes for laughs, though the teams of Brits, Scots and other Europeans are more cartoonish than offensive especially the Germans, who mostly sound like SNL's Hans and Franz.
As the brothers' crass, foul-mouthed great-grandmother, Cloris Leachman proves once again that she's willing to do or say just about anything for a laugh. Shameless check-cashing cameos are also made by Mo'Nique, Donald Sutherland and, bizarrely, Jürgen Prochnow as the bad guy, spoofing his ultra-intense performance in Das Boot.
Rounded out with plenty of keg stands, vomit, kicks to the groin and loads of completely gratuitous female nudity, Beerfest will score with the inevitable cult of lowbrow comedy lovers who prefer their cinema with a case of Budweiser.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].