MOVIE REVIEW: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (Cert 18)

THE story of this review began about three years ago as I was mulling around at university and generally doing everything possible to spend my student loan wastefully and avoid lectures (sorry mum!) I lived with a flatmate who, mainly down to our same na

THE story of this review began about three years ago as I was mulling around at university and generally doing everything possible to spend my student loan wastefully and avoid lectures (sorry mum!)

I lived with a flatmate who, mainly down to our same names, got on very well and became drinking buddies during the strangely intimidating fresher's week.

Anyway, one of the more stand-up things he introduced to me was an internet blog from a character named Tucker Max. His growing selection of 'true stories' involved his excessive drinking, his encounters with the people he meets on these drunken adventures (mainly women) and the crude and disgusting things that most nights ended up like.

This fascinated and humoured him to the point of near-obsession, and he revelled in re-telling these stories (often with direct quotes from the blog) during nights out and in. A few months later and a collection of these stories (I assume extended) was released as a book, selling lots of copies and topping bestseller lists and stuff. His often sexist views on the women he meets whilst intoxicated enthralled a generation of students and internet goers, loving this inane honesty and tittering at the self-obsessed adventures that come his way so many times.

My housemate lent me the book (after reading it quite a few times himself!) and after a few stories I couldn't continue. I understand those bloggers who like to retell adventures and those experiences that effect them so much, they can be fascinating to read and understand (and often comment and advise on), but his views and obsession with himself (such a seeming arrogance of being something that I'm censored from saying here) was something I couldn't stand and it was with disappointment that my housemate and friend idolised this person.

Fast forward a few years and avoidance of the drunken stud muffin Tucker Max and I hear on the binary winds of internet rumours that a movie has been financed and confirmed for the book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. As well as that, the blogger is writing the screenplay!

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I smiled at this thought, considered the bargain straight-to-DVD thought of it and forgot about it. But not for long.

Thoughts Afterwards

Tucker Max has done it, amazingly. I think with time this movie had changed the landscape for comedies and, possibly, movies in general. Laughter erupted at such a fast rate that one person I was watching it with literally threw up. The script was dotted with hilariously insightful (and quotable!), and my crowd of friends have been repeating lines from the movie since. But most of all, and this is where his genius will be remembered, is that it absolutely and successfully captures the sheer drunken essence of what it's like to be a typical male in the twenty-first century.

Sadly, though, everything in the paragraph above is a lie. But if Tucker Max finds this review amongst his self-absorbed Googling of his own name (and he blatantly does that at least twice a day) I bet he got an excited flutter inside. Sorry Tucker, but you have successfully created the worst comedy of the decade.

If you've seen The Hangover, or any buddy movie that involves drink and ladies, then you know the general gist - three friends, including the positively annoying (and not in a funny or charming way) Tucker, go on a bachelor party a few nights before some bloke's wedding. They head to a strip club, drink a lot, spurt sexist comments and manager to get women even though they are positively terrible people (apart from the groom-to-be, who is the only one who was a half decent person). And even though the wedding nearly falls through, thanks to the dubiously legal goings on the night before, nothing is learnt by any of the characters by the end.

My biggest nitpick, and why this is the polar opposite of The Hangover, is that the script has zero charm, I felt zero sympathy or like (at all!) to any of the characters.

See? This is the humour it's going for, and whereas some competent (and sometimes genius) comedy writers can pull offensive humour off well - like Chris Morris or Sacha Baron Cohen - but this just doesn't work at all, it just comes across as horrible and cringeworthy. I don't particularly have any feminist agendas, and am not offended by what was said in the movie, but it just seemed uncalled for. My girlfriend agreed, saying it was unnecessary and reckoned only a bitter person could write a script like this.

Ultimately, and this is the sad truth, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell is just not funny (I didn't even smile for the duration) so therefore it is completely pointless. One man's obsession with his own drunken sexual encounters provided a following online, and he became a hero for a jilted generation, but that generation has grown up and moved on.

The movie's failure at the box office (and critically) is proof that this minor fad has been and gone, and the pointless sexism and binge drinking actually looked strangely dated (though that may have been the bad production values). I'm all for finding humour in the changed personality that alcohol brings (I'm a huge fan of the inane hilarity in the new MTV show Jersey Shore for instance) but when humour is devoid then it's a waste of everyone's time.

I could comment on the acting (meh), the soundtrack (meh) and the direction (meh) - why bother when it's all so mediocre?

Two things that are infinitely funnier than this movie - a second viewing of The Hangover (or Swingers) or a look at a more detailed account of Tucker Max's thoughts on how this movie would be perceived.

Like David Brent's (from The Office) complete lack of self-awareness, his faith in this tripe is comedy gold. But the actual product is comedy turd.


1/5 Stars