I never played drinking games in my collegiate youth -- I was never in a fraternity, did not study engineering and grew up in Canada, so the general idea was to just drink. Beerfest, the new comedy from the five-comedian collective known as Broken Lizard, begins as two American brothers, Jan (Paul Soter) and Todd (Erik Stolhanske) Wolfhouse take their dear departed father's ashes from Colorado to Munich, Germany to fulfill his last wishes. Along the way, they stumble into a secret international competition of drinking games called "Beerfest" -- an alternative to commercialized drink-fests, for as one member of the Australian team notes profanely, "Oktoberfest is for tossers and sheep-shaggers!" While disastrously failing to enact their dad's final wishes, the brothers have their family honor and national pride desperately bruised by the VonWolfhausen clan -- the German branch of the family, who perennially win Beerfest. Shamed but not broken, the Wolfhouse brothers set out to make a rag-tag team of drinking game, uh, athletes (and with ESPN2 carrying hot dog-devouring coverage between spelling bees and spear fishing, that's not such a crazy phrase) to win next year's Beerfest.
Beerfest is dumb as a box of rocks. It's a brawny, badly-shot mess that goes on a little too long. It has, as its stars, a group of five men who are far from conventionally handsome, and not conventionally funny. It doesn't hate women, but it doesn't have a lot for them to do aside from bare their breasts and provide exposition. And I loved it -- or, rather, I laughed during it and was consistently amused by audacity and stupidity going hand in hand. It's a dumb movie made by smart people, who took a pitch of 'Fight Club with beer' and managed to wrest a sports-movie parody out of it through sheer force of will while still mocking bad '80s action cinema, world cultural relations, and our relationship with, as noted sage Homer J. Simpson put it, "... Alcohol: The cause of -- and solution to -- all of life's problems." Beerfest is the best smart-yet-dumb American comedy since Dodgeball.