Tucker Max is a writer who has made a very modest name for himself in the world of blogging, rattling off stories of drunken frat-boy debauchery and sexual escapades. Now, three years after his novel I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell hit bookstores, the film adaptation has hit theaters. And it’s nothing more than your usual attempt at an R-rated raunch fest, but tarted up with some phony sentiment and recycled insight.
The film’s point is unfettered offensiveness and rampant un-PC-ness, something that’s theoretically supposed to be shocking and thought-provoking at the same time. In practice, however, it’s neither. While Max’s ideas of women are either sexist or misogynistic (under the guise of trying to rattle the cages of the square haircuts), he still manages to be unrepentantly dull. Max—who co-wrote the screenplay with first-time screenwriter Nils Parker—thinks he has a knack for dialogue, but really, it all ends up as a mishmash between the worst aspects of Kevin Smith with a smattering of Dennis Miller. This is unfortunate on any number of levels, especially since all anyone does the entire film is talk incessantly. None of it’s terribly clever, and all of Max’s insight seems to be culled from bad stand-up routines. Occasionally there are people drinking booze, some boobs or a gross-out gag (including an incredibly vile, disgusting diarrhea gag), none of which is as racy or offensive as the movie thinks, because all these things have been done before in movies that are just as bad.
Then there’s the sense of self-congratulatory smugness that permeates the film. Since Max has written a movie about himself, the cinematic version of Tucker Max (TV actor Matt Czurchy) is, of course, a quick-witted, irresistibly charming scallywag. In this version of the film’s “based on a true story” events, Tucker convinces his best friend Dan (Geoff Stults, The Express) to lie to his fiancé (TV actress Keri Lynn Pratt) and take a two-hour drive to a far-off strip club for his bachelor party. Reluctantly, Dan agrees, and—along with their bitter, women-hating, recently dumped buddy Drew (Jesse Bradford, showing that there are fates worse than Swimfan)—they head out, only to have everything go wrong. All of this is supposed to lead to Tucker learning the true meaning of friendship, but Tucker’s such a vile, unlikable person that it comes across as forced and phony.
The technical side of things fares no better, as the whole movie looks like it was shot for a couple of fat nickels with a borrowed camcorder. I’m not even sure anyone understood this stuff is theoretically supposed to be in focus. There’s not much to recommend here, unless you’re the type that finds the exploits of dwarf strippers or bouts of violent diarrhea uproariously funny. And in that case, have at it. Rated R for nudity, strong sexual content, including graphic dialogue throughout, language and some crude material.