Where the wild things go to die

Tucker Max loves being an “asshole,” and he wants everybody to know it. The University of Chicago and Duke Law graduate started off with a blog in 2002, went on to write a book in 2006 that made the New York Times bestseller list, and now he gives us “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” — a film which attempts to capture the insane hilarity of the book, the blog, the “asshole.”

Which is all well and good, ‘cept … well … it’s just not insanely hilarious. The plot: Three guys road-trip to Salem, Va., for a bachelor party, go to a strip club, one sleeps with a midget, one sleeps with a stripper, the groom falls off a stage, smashes his face up and then ends up in jail for pissing in public, things work out, there is reconciliation…

Oh, wait.

Haven’t I seen this movie before? But they went to Vegas, didn’t they?

“Hell” tries and fails where “The Hangover” succeeded just months ago.

The problem is that it’s just not that outrageous — the strip club scene is way too drawn out, the gags are stale and the moments of humour feel forced.

Maybe I’m just prejudiced against the mid 2000s American lifestyle in which increasingly sleazy guys go to bars and try and pick up chicks. Maybe I’m prejudiced against a vacuous world in which life takes place in sterilised, pleasingly lit biomes where men and women in nondescript clothing make nondescript conversation.

Fine — I am, and a film set in that kind of world has to be weird, outlandish, or at least well made for me to even try to care.

“Hell” is oddly amateurish at times. Two of the main characters — stock-asshole Tucker (Matt Czuchry) and boring groom friend Dan (Geoff Stults) — simply can’t act. There are gaps between lines, punchlines, looks.

It seems like the people shooting the movie were just a little too bro-ed out to care about making it. Shots that are supposed to be fun or inventive often fuck up and there’s one point (when Dan blacks out in jail) that you think the projector’s broken, the cut’s so bad.

That said, there are a couple of nice shots where we peer into the crazy mind of Drew (Jesse Bradford), a nihilistic and misogynistic friend of Tucker’s who just dumped him for Grillionaire, a rapper whose hit song plays on the TV at one point in the bar. Drew’s character and his relationship with the stripper Lara (Marika Dominczyk) are the movie’s only saving graces. Drew is funny, versatile and outrageous where Tucker isn’t. He’s not the kid boasting about how cool he is in a book he wrote — he’s flesh and bone in a film where most of the other characters are pen and ink.

So, should you see this film?

No — it’s fucking shit. Read the blog and save the money.

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