I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (available today on DVD) should have been Ferris Bueller, the corrupt college years. Based on the exploits of successful blogger/author/self proclaimed asshole, Tucker Max, this film had the potential to be shocking, inventive and possibly endearing, especially with the hyper-charismatic Matt Czuchry as Max. Czuchry brings so much energy and commitment to the role that it’s a shame that more of the general public did not see the film. Lucky for him he landed a plum role in the new hit series, The Good Wife. Of course, it’s not Czuchry’s fault, nor is it the fault of his very talented co-stars, Geoff Stults (October Road) and Jesse Bradford (Flags of Our Fathers). Given the right material (i.e. a good script) all three capable actors could have come away from this film a little less soiled.
The thrown together plot involves Max dragging his two law school pals on a road trip/bachelor party in honor of his buddy, Dan (Stults). The third friend is the embittered Drew (Bradford) who unleashes a constant barrage of venom toward all women after walking in on his girlfriend giving a blowjob to a big rap star. Sounds fun already, huh? Their destination is a strip club where they can drink and grope the dancers without repercussions. As we eventually find out, this trip is all a ploy for Max to fulfill one his ultimate sexual fantasies.
Dan is the most straight-laced of the group and ends up lying to his understanding fiancé (Keri Lynn Pratt) to go on the trip. While at the club, Drew meets a stripper with a heart of gold (and a kid), Dan winds up in the drunk tank after pissing on a cop, and Tucker succeeds is insulting nearly every woman he comes in contact with.
Like I said, since the film is based on Max’s first person narratives, the screenwriters had a golden opportunity to craft a screenplay that resembled John Hughes genius film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which Matthew Broderick’s’ titular character broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the audience throughout the movie. It was Broderick’s charm and these asides to the viewers that helped make Ferris less of an asshole when he took advantage of people, (especially his friends). Unfortunately, screenwriters Max and Nils Parker created a very conventional road trip movie we’ve seen hundred of times before. And despite one of the most disgusting screen jokes I’ve ever seen (in which Max literally shits his pants), there is nothing very original in this movie. Moreover the direction and camera work are so flat that there is nothing to keep you interested.
Some of you may read comparisons between I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and the Golden Globe winning The Hangover, which is also about a bachelor party gone awry. The comparisons stop with the words “bachelor party.” The Hangover is funny and its expertly executed; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is not. Instead, it is a clichéd raunch-fest that lobs the plot points at you like waterlogged Nerf softballs. Will Dan’s finance forgive him in time for the wedding? Will Drew wind up with the stripper and revive his heart? Will Max manage to gain the forgiveness of his friends with some longwinded wedding speech? I think you know the answers.
Should you see this movie? I think you know the answer to that, too.