dir: Jay Chandrasekhar
[img_assist|nid=839|title=Drink up ladies: I guarantee, the more you drink, the more I look like Johnnie Depp|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=290|height=419]
Beerfest is one of the dumbest films I’ve seen in recent memory. Ordinarily, such an opening statement would guarantee a litany of abuse to follow for thousands upon thousands of pointless words. But it’s actually a complement in this case.

There are a lot of dumb films that are highly enjoyable and very entertaining. Classic dumb films include Porky’s, Bloodlust, Strange Brew, Half Baked, Con Air, Road House, Double Impact and Battleship Potemkin. Of course, most of the films that have ever been made are dumb, just not intentionally dumb.

The people who make those movies whose titles end in “Movie”, like Epic Movie, Date Movie, Scary Movie, try to make dumb films that are entertaining, and by and large they are failing miserably, so miserably. It makes me sad to think of them, sad like a lawn mower running over your cute puppy.

But here the formula for dumbness has worked. There’s crudity, bodily fluids, old people swearing, heroic consumption of alcohol, gratuitous nudity, bestiality and clear references to the great WWII submarine movie Das Boot.

Funny elements alone don’t make a good salad. It’s the way you lovingly and ham-fistedly cram everything together that decides whether the end product is tolerable or whether it makes you want to punch orphans in the face.

Beerfest, which I watched sober, managed to make me chuckle a few times. It takes as its essence the hallowed American sport of competition drinking (as in college drinking games like quarters or drunken ping pong) and makes of it an international event where Americans must compete for honour against the entire world.

At stake as well is the honour of Todd and Jan Wolfhouse and their whore great grandmother played by Cloris Leachman. Cloris Leachman has been around since the invention of movies. She probably started off not in vaudeville or on the stage, but in cave drawings, that’s how old she is. She is one of the original characters to appear in the Bible as well as films based on the Bible, that’s how old she is.

So she’s old. And she swears. And, for some reason, that’s funny to me.

But the whole kit and caboodle is funny to me. These Broken Lizard guys made one okay comedy (Super Troopers), one dire one (Club Dredd) and now have finally achieved their goal of the perfectly dumb, funny film.

When their great grandfather dies, played by perennial Hollywood lunatic Donald Sutherland, the two Wolfhouse brothers are sent back to the old country, being Germany, to so something with his ashes. Along the way they stumble upon a secret society of people who drink each other to death in a Germanic, Oktoberfest-inspired Fight Club for drunks. Whilst there they discover ancient family secrets and humiliation at the hands of members of their estranged family, led by the evil Wolfgang Von Wolfhaus (Jurgen Prochnow), who just happens to be their great uncle or dad or something, I couldn’t quite figure it out.

Our two hero brothers are humiliated in a drinking contest against Wolfhaus’s grandchildren, all strapping Teutonic lads, and sent packing back to America to nurse their wounds. They decide the only way to restore their honour, and the honour of their whore great grandmother (I’m not making that up, it’s a major part of the plot) is to get a team together, train for a year, and, uh, win at Beerfest. It’s as silly as it sounds, but it’s entertaining.

The level of alcohol consumption in this flick is of lethal proportions. Of all the people seen downing megalitres of beer in the flick, only one dies. No-one gets alcohol poisoning once. This film should carry a health warning. No-one can drink that much for a year and not have to carry their reconditioned liver around with them perched up on a dialysis machine.

Be that as it may, I’ve always thought that the kind of people who complain about the content within films saying that such and such is a bad influence and could cause people to partake of unhealthy and dangerous behaviours, are missing the point. The real point of movies like this and Jackass and its sequel is blindingly simple: thinning out the herd. The kind of morons who replicate the activities they see on tv or the silver screen and end up harming themselves were never going to win any Nobel prizes for Economics or Physics, let’s face it.

People who try to drink the same levels of beer as the competitors in the film will die, but, at least in Australia, that level of consumption is usually referred to as a regular Friday night.

The two brothers try to get a team of drinkers for next year’s contest, and rustle up a group of reprobates in their pursuit of glory. The team includes a male prostitute, a scientist who jerks off frogs, and a guy called Landfill. It’s as much of a shambolic shemozzle as it sounds, and from it comes the comedy gold.

Who can say if the Americans will triumph over the rest of the world and restore their honour. Who knows whether the main characters will solve their family problems and achieve greatness. These are petty questions compared to the real question of how much of all that stuff that they drank was actual booze. The poor bastards; how they suffered for their art.

Of course it’s silly, crude and adolescent, and, maybe I was just in the right mood for it, but I still found it pretty entertaining. I can’t just always watch films about the African blood diamond trade, Russian butterfly catchers or Mongolian goat herders living in yurts. I need to be able to laugh at something that seems cheaply put together, but that actually has a lot of decent gags and thought put into making it an entertaining flick, even if it is obscene enough to make me sick.

I just like to sample all the delights of the cinematic smorgasbord. Beerfest is an attempt to make a cheesy, vulgar 80s comedy, and it succeeds in its lowly ambitions, something I have to give it credit for.

But don’t go in expecting La Dolce Vita or Babette’s Feast. Obviously. This is one for the gut and the liver, not the cerebral cortex.

7 times I’ve proudly represented Australia in drinking Olympics without even knowing it out of 10

“I start to feel all cooped up in these U-Boats; I had a bad experience once.” – Jurgen Prochnow, Beerfest.