You're supposed to think that the jokes in I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell are so shocking, so offensive, that you laugh because you forget being PC for a moment. And if you don't laugh, you're the kind of square that Tucker Max, the lead character, takes aim at.
The real story is that the movie is offensive, but not because it's just so edgy. It's offensively unfunny — that is, the movie's jokes are not so offensive that they're not funny, they're such bombs you're shocked someone got paid for this. To see why I thought this movie was so terrible, just
The Tucker Max of the movie (played by Matt Czuchry) is based on the real-life Tucker Max, who wrote the memoir the film is based on, which was based on his blog. I read the blog a bit and found it mildly amusing — so what changed in the film version? Nothing, really, I just think the larger scale of a movie can't validate the boringly immature Max. There's a plot, here, sort of: Tucker wants to give his best friend an epic bachelor party and whisks him out of town, where hijinks ensue (sound familiar? More on that later).
Tucker is supposed to be totally boorish and offensive, but his crudeness and raunchy jokes are not shocking; they're just lame. He talks about killing a fat girl and brags about having sex with a deaf girl. Yeah. Laughing at the inappropriate is not the new territory this movie acts like it is; five minutes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia provides more laughs than this movie does in its 105 minutes.
The one emotion I had watching I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell that wasn't disgust or boredom was sympathy. I felt bad for the poor actors, especially Gilmore Girls' Matt Czuchry, whom I've rooted for — I hoped he would land a great role that would invigorate his career. This is not that role. (All is not lost: he's in this Fall's The Good Wife.)
Even the adorable Czuchry can't make Max charming, nor can cute Jesse Bradford make Max's best friend Drew anything but abhorrent. It's painful watching him force out such pathetic one-liners. By the time Max and Drew are supposed to be redeemed, you don't believe any of it (but it does signal the end of the movie, so that's a relief). And I have to mention: there's the grossest fecal scene I've ever seen in a movie (it puts the poop monster in Dogma to shame).
Pouring salt in the movie's unfunny wounds is timing — The Hangover was released earlier this summer with a similar storyline, and it was a huge hit. But to call it a poor man's The Hangover is too generous; The Hangover was funny.
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