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Movie Review

Much can be discerned from the fact that Beerfest is a product of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, which has already foisted upon the world of "entertainment" such "classics" as Club Dread and Super Troopers. In those films, Broken Lizard deployed its characters to posh resort islands and the boonies of Vermont to, well, wreak havoc. Now they're bound for Germany to tip back a few cold ones. Did I say few? I meant thousands.

Granddad always said he wanted his ashes spread around at Oktoberfest. So when he passes, slacker brothers Jan and Todd Wolfhouse dutifully oblige. And that's how they discover Beerfest. A centuries-old secret, these are the underground Olympics for hard-core alcoholics—the real drinkers. But after their initial showing against an intimidating German team who happen to be their cousins, Jan and Todd are laughed out of the event.

They return Stateside and form a squad of underdog misfits to challenge the Germans the following year: Jewish scientist Fink, chugging machine Landfill, and down-on-his-luck Barry, who's gone from legendary frat-boy to male prostitute. With 12 months to train, Team USA may not be pretty, but they've got high hopes—namely, to reclaim their honor and drink everybody else under the table.

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Positive Elements

Though it's a stretch to find the good in this movie, I'd be amiss if I failed to mention that the guys do rally together during tough times and encourage each other ... albeit usually to drink their sorrows away.

Spiritual Content

Landfill admits to spending some time in prison and says he's converted to Islam, adding, "Now I'm out, praise Allah." The opening scene shows a foul-mouthed, cigar-smoking, gangster-like man intimidating a guest and challenging him to a drinking game. The goon ends up being a priest and, after putting his collar on, goes out to perform a ceremony. A couple of funerals take place in a church.

Sexual Content

Constant. Four scenes show couples engaged in the act, with female nudity. During one of those encounters, we briefly see the movements of a woman performing oral sex. Several women expose their breasts either on purpose or by accident. Others appear in lingerie as part of Amsterdam sex-show window displays. Indeed, most females in this movie are nothing more than sex objects.

After forgiving Barry for sleeping with his wife, Todd nonchalantly says, "You can [have] my wife anytime." Barry wakes up after a night of revelry naked in a forest. (We see his backside.) Other verbal and visual gags involve bestiality, anal sex, masturbation, lesbianism, sex toys, penis size, threesomes, (more) oral sex, rape and incest.

A running joke centers on the brothers' grandmother being a prostitute in her younger years. And a lengthy scene finds Barry and his fellow "male whores" willing to do anything for cash. While trying to extract semen from a frog (!), Fink gets some of it in his mouth. A man wearing a dildo tries to kiss Todd. Jan actually does kiss a man while celebrating.

Violent Content

A played-for-laughs, over-the-top fight scene has Landfill and a woman mercilessly punching, kicking and generally pummeling each other with various objects (wrenches, poles, barrels, etc.). Their fracas, which briefly involves a knife and a gun, ends with one of them drowning in a vat of beer. A young boy gets whacked in the face by a barrel. A woman is shown shoving a body part into an industrial grinder (no blood). Two characters get killed by henchmen offscreen (we hear the gunshots).

Several family members and teammates slap, punch or tackle each other; one smacks her grandson with a cane. (Crotches are prime targets for abuse.) Two large men intimidate their opponents by smashing things in a tavern. Landfill destroys a trophy, and Barry breaks a beer bottle over his head. In a random segment, the latter wakes up next to a dead deer that has a bloodied neck. A German opponent eats glass, drawing blood. Fink dumps a mutant animal in a dumpster and prepares to set it on fire. Jan and Todd's grandfather accidentally kills himself by pulling the wrong cord while in a hospital bed.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 40 f-words and a dozen s-words get used in various obscene ways, along with close to a 100 other crudities, several of which are extremely vulgar anatomical references ("p---y," "c--k," "d--k"). God's name is profaned more than a dozen times, a handful of which are with "d--n." Jesus' gets abused three times. A handful of racially derogative terms are tossed in, and several foreign crudities get spoken.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Nearly two hours of nonstop boozing. Beer, wine, rum, vodka ... it all sloshes freely here, along with plenty of other hard liquors (though beer certainly takes the spotlight).

A man lights up a cigarette; another puffs away on a cigar. Barry tells a story involving an opium house. Pot also makes several appearances, as Fink smokes from a bong—then gulps down a mug of beer and a shot of hard stuff. (Moviegoers at the screening I attended rewarded his actions with hearty applause.) At the end of the movie, country crooner Willie Nelson invites the group to join him in a marijuana-smoking contest, which leads to the hint of a movie sequel titled Potfest.

Other Negative Elements

Men vocally relieve themselves at a latrine. When one is pulled away, his urine sprays everywhere. To demonstrate a theory he has, Fink dips a shoe in the latrine, filling it with urine. Meanwhile, both the U.S. and German teams drink ram's urine on separate occasions to "toughen up" and prove they can down anything. Jan and Todd's grandfather chugs at least three pints of beer on his deathbed. A German relative mocks the American brothers by dumping their grandfather's ashes on them.

Conclusion

"I've never seen so much tasteless humor in my life. ... It was great!"

Those are the exact words of an excited twentysomething leaving the theater after an advance screening of Beerfest. Had I just seen the same movie as him? Tasteless—definitely. But great? The two words shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence. And yet thanks to guys like him, this is just the latest in a getting-longer line of hard-R, should've been rated NC-17 frat-friendly comedy flicks.

Need any more proof than what you've already read that that's exactly what this movie is? One scene finds a completely plastered Barry stumbling into the bathroom and relieving himself. He looks in the mirror and sees not the pitiful, disheveled drunk we all see, but instead a burning pile of good-lookin' hunk ready for some lovin'. He walks out, struts his stuff for the first woman he sees, invites her back to his place, and we're then forced to watch a two-minute romp played for both laughs and titillation. He, of course, wakes up the next morning to find out the woman is a much different version than he'd thought—and then tells the camera he knew it all along.

The point? Everything looks better when you're drunk. Even if you know the truth behind the mirage. And don't bother trying to defend Beerfest by giving it any credit for using satirical hyperbole to create some sort of sad social commentary. The irony of one of the guys literally drowning in a beer cask is completely lost on audiences who are too busy gulping down the sheer joy this film takes in celebrating sloshdom.

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