Sometimes, having a nice cold beer can be pretty relaxing, provided that you don’t over indulge too much. Over the years, my friends and I have consumed our fair share of beers, and have gone to several beer festivals as well. Well when we found out that there was a movie called Beerfest coming out, we decided that we had to go see this. However, we decided to do this properly, or at least in what are fun loving selves thought it should be done. So we showed up at the theater early, and proceeded to tailgate before heading into the theater to watch the movie. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the smartest idea but I will admit that it was a lot of fun doing it. So here’s to the memories as I watch Beerfest.
The plot: In the basement of a building, Jan Wolfhouse is playing a high stakes game of quarters with some men and when he declares chance and wins, the men move to injure him, Jan’s brother Todd yells down that this isn’t the time or place, as the funeral they are there for is about to start. The priest, who was the man in charge, apologizes and after donning his collar, heads up to the church to oversee the funeral of Todd and Jan’s grandfather, who leaves Jan and Todd the family’s restaurant and Bo-Bo, the puppet he had as a child.. After the funeral, Todd and Jan’s Great Gam Gam tells them it is a Wolfhouse tradition to spread the ashes of their loved ones during Oktoberfest and Todd and Jan eagerly agree to go. When they arrive in Munich, they attend Oktoberfest while waiting for Mr. Schniedelwichsen but when some patrons think they are insulting them by singing “99 Bottles of Beer”, a commotion breaks out causing a little kid to get hurt. Before the mob can turn on them, the tent collapses and Jan and Todd are able to get away, where they are met by Schniedelwichsen. Schniedelwichsen leads them through some back alleys to an underground drinking competition called Beerfest. As Jan and Todd get separated from Schniedelwichsen, they watch as the German team defeats the Irish team in a sudden death contest, with the last man on each team drinking from a glass boot called “Das Boot”. As the German’s celebrate, Schniedelwichsen brings Jan and Todd on stage and introduces them to three of the German team, Otto, Rolf, and Gunter Wolfhausen; telling Jan and Todd that they are cousins. The Wolfhausens are upset that Schniedelwichsen brought outsiders, and American at that, the Beerfest and have him killed, then they proceed to berate Jan and Todd. They tell him that their grandfather was a thief and his mother was nothing but a common whore. Feeling the need to defend their family’s honor, Jan and Todd challenge the Wolfhausens to a drinking contest but the Wolfhausens says they will let the two worst members of their team, Hammacher and Schlemmer, challenge them. Hammacher and Schlemmer quickly defeat Jan and Todd and as the crowd mocks their poor performance, Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhausen shows up and asks them where the recipe that their grandfather stole is, as they claim that he stole the recipe for the greatest beer ever known. When they tell him they don’t have any idea about any recipe, Wolfgang dumps the ashes of their grandfather on them and then Schlemmer punches Jan in the eye as they are kicked out of the building. When they return home, Great Gam Gam asks them about the ceremony and says that they did a good thing taking their grandfather there. When she leaves, Jan and Todd decide to defend their family’s honor and form their own drinking team to beat the Germans. They head to a county fair and find Phil “Landfill” Krundle, who used to work for the brewery before he was fired and now earns money by competing in eating competitions. After Landfill agrees to be on their team, they head to NIH Labs to speak with Steve “Fink” Finklestein, who is reluctant to join at first but after hearing that they will be competing against the Germans, agrees to join. Next, Jan takes them to find Barry Badrinath, who was the best when it came to drinking games. Todd doesn’t like the idea at first, as Barry had slept with his girlfriend in college, but admits that he was the best and would help them win. They find Barry working as a male prostitute under a bridge and when they try to convince him to show them his skills, he is unable to do so and ends up smashing a beer bottle and chasing them away. Later that night, Jan, Todd, Landfill, and Fink are at the Wolfhouses’ restaurant when a drunken Barry walks in, wanting to be on the team. Todd tells him he is washed up but Barry proceeds to amaze them at his skill with darts, pool, and quarters, explaining that he is better when he is drunk. With 11 months to go until Beerfest, Todd and Jan fashion a training room in the back area of the restaurant and proceed to start working on training by drinking a lot of beer. When they are unable to finish a keg that first night, they pay a visit to Great Gam Gam to ask her about how the Germans are able to drink beer so well. Great Gam Gam tells them that they train in the Alps and drink ram’s piss because if they could drink ram’s piss then they could drink anything. The guys try her suggestion to the ebst of their abilities and then decide to attend some college parties and participate in drinking challenges to test their skills. As the months pass, Fink has been working on trying to figure out how to handle Das Boot and when he gets in an argument with Landfill, who was teasing him with Bo-Bo, and tosses the puppet to the ground, breaking it’s head off. As Todd goes to get Bo-Bo and put it’s head back on, Jan notices some paper sticking out of it and after Barry reads it, they realize that it is the Wolfhausen beer recipe and when the brew it, they cry after realizing how good it tastes, but Jan and Todd realize that this also means that their Great Gam Gam really was a whore. Jan and Todd bottle the beer and start selling it at their restaurant but a bottle is sent to Wolfgang, who is overseeing the German team’s training, and when he realizes what is in the bottle, he makes plans to head to America and get the recipe. As time passes, the guys continue training and having fun, with Barry getting drunk and sleeping with Cherry, Great Gam Gam’s caretaker. One month before Beerfest, the German team shows up at Jan and Todd’s restaurant and offer to buy the recipe from them but when Jan and Todd refuse to sell it, they challenge them to a game of beer pong for it. Todd hands a paddle to Barry, asking him to play but Barry says that he doesn’t play pong anymore and as they argue about it, Barry reveals that when he slept with Todd’s girlfriend, it was as part of a threesome. The two get into a fight and Barry quits the team and walks off and the Germans leave soon after, saying they haven’t seen the last of them. The next day, the German give an interview pretending to be undocumented workers for the restaurant and spreading lies about it being disease ridden, causing them to lose business. As Jan and Todd watch the news story, Fink walks in and says he has to quit the team, as he had lost his job at the lab due to his somehow cloning a batch of monkey frogs. Landfill comes in a few minutes later in tears, saying his wife left him and took their kids and he has to quit the team. Landfill grabs a beer and heads to the training room, thinking back on all of the memories there, when he finds Cherry stealing data off of Fink’s computer. The two get into a fight but she ends up knocking him into the vat of beer, where he ends up drowning. When Jan finds him, they believe he committed suicide and during the funeral, Landfill’s wife blames Jan, Todd, Fink, and Barry for Landfill’s death. As they sit around during the wake, Great Gam Gam shows up and tells them the truth about her being a whore and the Baron Ludwig von Wolfhausen’s lover. She says that her son was the Baron’s first born son, making them the rightful heirs to the brewery. She then tells them that they should compete in Beerfest to honor their friend and reclaim their heritage. Todd and the others agree and try to figure out who to get to replace Landfill when his twin brother Gil walks in the room. Gil says that he taught Landfill everything he knew about drinking and wants to join their team to honor his memory. When they see that he can drink faster than Landfill, the guys welcome Gil to the team, who asks that they call him Landfill. The team arrives in Germany but Jan and Todd are unable to remember where the Beerfest was located. Fink recalls a study he did on drunken recall and proceeds to get Todd drunk and he is able to lead them to the door but they don’t know the password. Barry comes up with the idea to use the “Trojan Keg” trick to get inside and Wolfgang applauds their creativity but orders them thrown out. Jan tells them that as the rightful heirs to the brewery, they should be allowed to compete and the German team convinces Wolfgang to let them compete so they can beat them again. Wolfgang agrees and the American team begin competing and manage to make it to the finals against Germany. As they are using the restroom before the final competition, Fink figures out how to handle Das Boot as he watches the urine go down the drain and tells the others his idea. As the final competition begins, Germany is able to win the first three rounds but the American team is able to come back when Barry overcomes his fear of playing ping pong again and helps Todd win the match. The score ends up being tied 3-3 and a sudden death match with Das Boot is set up when the American team is surprised to see Cherry there with Wolfgang, who tells them that she was his secret agent keeping tabs on them. As they begin drinking, Cherry goes over to Landfill and admits she killed his brother, causing him to choke on his beer and lose the match. As the Germans celebrate and taunt the American team, Jan offers up a double or nothing offer, staking the recipe for the world’s greatest beer against the brewery. Wolfgang tells them that Cherry already got the recipe from Fink’s computer but Fink tells him that was for a low-carb strawberry beer and Wolfgang has her killed. When Fink says to make it a 10 boot challenge, Wolfgang agrees to the deal but as the German’s mock Fink and throw his yarmulke on the ground, Fink gets what Jan says is the “Eye of the Jew” and has the team shift so that Fink is their anchor. As the competition starts, Fink stares down Hammacher, telling the others to turn the boot before the bubble causes the pressure to build. When it comes down to Fink and Hammacher, they start drinking and Hammacher finishes first but as he turns his boot upside down, one drop is shown to still be clinging to the glass and when it hits the table, the Germans are ruled the losers. As the Americans celebrate, Jan and Todd look up at Wolfgang, who reluctantly throws them the key to the brewery. One year later, Jan and Todd take Landfill, Barry, and Fink to Amsterdam for a vacation when they run into Willie Nelson, who says he is entered in a pot smoking competition but his partners, Cheech and Chong, refused to travel in his plane so he asks if they want to compete with him, to which they all agree and head inside with him.
Beerfest met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Beerfest features some laugh-inducing gags, but is too long and the pacing too uneven to form a coherent, functioning comedy.” Although the mention of the troupe returning in Potfest was intended as a joke to gain more publicity for the film with an open ending feel, the Broken Lizard group announced that Potfest or Smokefest would be happening after Super Troopers 2. The movie was considered a box office bomb, earning $20.4 million off of a $17.5 million budget, but would gain a lot of fan support and a TV series would happen that is set to air on CW Seed.
This movie is one of those stupid comedies that can be a lot of fun to watch, but I will admit that it’s not the greatest comedy out there. The acting was good, with all of the Broken Lizard group doing a good job in their roles. The story was pretty simplistic in it’s scope and honestly felt a little weak, as they tried to interject some humor to both lengthen the movie and try to keep the story going. As for the humor, it was definitely on the adult side of things for a good part of it but wasn’t too extremely offensive as you might think it could have been. All in all, it’s not going to be one of those all time comedy classics but it is good for some laughs.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5