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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (review)

Smell the Glove

Here’s the thing about Tucker Max: He’s a child. A toddler. A three-year-old screaming, “Poopie, poopie, POOPIE!” at the top of his lungs in the middle of the supermarket in the hopes of getting a reaction out of his embarrassed mother. You know how three-year-olds are — they learn a word is naughty because the first time they use it, the adults gasp, and so now that word is good for getting a reaction out of adults who are otherwise ignoring him.
The best reaction to such behavior is this: Nothing. Ignore him. If you react, you only reinforce the bad behavior, and the child learns that temper tantrums and acting out are good for making himself the center of attention. Ignore him, and he’ll quickly learn to behave himself. Someday he may even be a respectable, reasonable grownup.

The other possibility with Max is that he is a sociopath, someone with no conscience and no empathy. But unless and until he starts torturing kittens, the best thing is simply to pay him no heed whatsoever.

Not that that’s hard with I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, written by Tucker Max and Nils Parker, based on Max’s bestselling book of the same name [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], and directed by Bob Gosse. It’s sorta adorable, actually, that Max thinks he deserves to go to hell for screaming, “Poopie, poopie, POOPIE!” at the top of his lungs in the middle of the supermarket. Has he seen the news lately? He’s small potatoes — way small. And anyway, if he honestly believes that even the women he “likes” are nothing but bitches, tramps, whores, sluts, and “cum dumpsters” — I bet he thought that one was clever — and the ones he doesn’t are sexless, prudish witches, well, he’s gonna end up in his own hell on Earth. If he really is happy — as all indications in this tediously uncharming movie point toward — to bed, in an endless succession, only women with such low opinions of themselves that they’d willingly become dumpsters for his cum, he’s going to end up a sad, lonely, pathetic husk of a man someday. If he isn’t one already.

Perhaps sadder, however, is that he’s merely a poseur, making up all this shit while insisting it’s based on his own real life. I think this is indeed the case, and yet, can he really think this will impress anyone worth impressing? Man, that would be truly pitiable.

There’s a pretense of story to Beer, about how Tucker (Matt Czuchry [Gilmore Girls], who appears to believe that an insufferably smug and neverending grin is endearing) drags his “friends” Dan (Geoff Stults: The Break-Up) and Drew (Jesse Bradford: W., Flags of Our Fathers) to a legendary strip club a few hours drive away because it’s a place where a dude can totally touch the strippers’ tits (because, you know, the girls love having some creep’s grimy hands all over them). It’s all in honor of Dan’s impending marriage to Kristy (Keri Lynn Pratt: Fat Albert) — this is meant to be a sort of bachelor party. Imagine a sliding scale that saw the middling-interesting, sporadically funny, not-as-daring-as-it-thinks-it-is The Hangover written by William Shakespeare and brought to the screen by the love child of David Lean and Martin Scorsese; on such a scale, Beer would be still be mere drunken scribblings on toilet paper that had already been put to its intended purpose.

But we’re not even on that scale, of course. This is a terrible movie in all respects. It’s thoroughly reprehensible, embodying as it does either Max’s genuine disdain for women or his belief that pretending to be a misogynist pig is simply good for business, and yet it does not even have the courage of these meager convictions, ending in a finale that defangs its protagonist, at least as far as the unoriginal sexism of a frat boy can be considered fangish. (Really, Max? You love women even though you treat them as less than human? You think you’re the first to posit such nonsense? And jokes about rape? You’re really gonna have to try much harder than this is you want to be seen as “dangerous” and “outrageous.”) It’s full of people impossible to like: even Tucker’s friends hate him, so why do they hang around with him? If Kristy can honestly say to Dan, “When have you ever chosen me over Tucker?” — and this does seem to be an accurate assessment of their triangle — why the hell would she marry him?

It’s all poorly performed by a bunch of terrible “actors” from TV and direct-to-DVD frat-boy flicks — with the possible exception of Bradford, who has at least appeared in some decent movies, but who is, if he isn’t careful, in danger of hearing himself called a low-rent Ron Livingston. But it’s mostly notable, and not in a good way, for its defensiveness, as if its entire purpose was to “prove” that Max isn’t the asshole he’s made a fortune off insisting he is.

And that’s really feeble, as if the moment someone called him on his bullshit, he tried to backpeddle on it — like that three-year-old screaming in the supermarket suddenly apologizing for his inappropriate behavior. This is not a phrase I use lightly, but: What a dick.


MPAA: rated R for nudity, strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout, language and some crude material

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine

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