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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Beer Fest

Beer Fest

Historically, the best “B” comedies aimed at the youth market combine a healthy disrespect for authority, an ability to make fun of virtually anything without being mean, and an abundance of bodily fluids. By these standards, Beer Fest, the latest outing by the Broken Lizard writing team stands right up there with the best of its breed–American Pie, Not Another Teen Movie, and classics like Animal House.

Broken Lizard is Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske–the people that brought us Super Troopers and Club Dread. Compared to their early work, Beer Fest is much improved with great gags, snappy dialogue and spot on timing by its ensemble cast of semi-famous older actors like Cloris Leachman mixing it up with newcomers to the big screen.

The movie’s plot is just enough to get the action moving at breakneck speed without being burdensome. Leachman, as “Great Gam Gam,” plays the Great Grandmother of the goofy Wolfhouse brothers (Soter and Stolhanske)–a couple of aging frat boy types running the family bar after their grandfather (Donald Sutherland) kicks the bucket in a most amusing fashion. Great Gam Gam asks the boys to take his ashes back to an undisclosed location in Munich, Germany at the height of the annual monster-drinking binge, Oktoberfest. Much wackiness ensues.

Suffice to say that while in the Fatherland, they run afoul of Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhaus–their erstwhile relative–played in classic straight man fashion by Jurgen Prochnow (of Das Boot fame), and the two wings of the Wolfhouse/haus family prepare to slug it out in the odd arena that is Beer Fest. A veritable Olympics of a drinking contest-complete with (mostly) suitably costumed teams from around the world.

Nice performances all around and a seemingly boundless ability to consume beer, or whatever liquid director Chandrasekhar had them use as beer (probably. . .beer), take the film to the finish line in fine form.

Perhaps the only quibble one could find with Beer Fest, short of making the mistake of trying to analyze it as high art, is that it might be a touch too long. Though nowhere near as dragging as Super Troopers. And a light patina of sexism, while a far cry from the full on machismo of similar efforts from the 1970s and 80s, will probably offend some viewers. Perhaps if the all-female Swedish Beer Fest team had kept their down vests on, it might have been a little less evident.

Overall, I give the movie 4 beer steins out of a possible 5, and recommend that if you can’t see Beer Fest in the theaters, then rent it in a few months, and play some of the many innovative and complex drinking games you’ll see the actors demonstrate in the comfort of your own home.