If there's ever a competition to deliver the most unlikeable character in film history, I know exactly what to do: buy the rights to a Tucker Max book or online story, and adapt it word for word. The law school graduate/writer/self admitted asshole chronicles his "adventures" and conquests on his website, full of the most contemptible anecdotes, a mixture of drunken misogyny and false bravado, a tell all of sorts about women he's slept with or drinking experiences. He's been sued for detailing sexual encounters with a former Miss Virginia, condemned by those who call him a rapist for taking advantage of drunk girls.
Since Max's third book, the second involving what may be his "character" of Tucker Max, titled I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell became a best seller, a movie adaptation didn't seem like a stretch. Reading the stories on the site, one can readily see the potential for a hard-R rated buddy comedy flick, where "facts" can be reassembled easily for dramatic and narrative purposes. The man can write, there is no arguing that, regardless of whether one likes what he writes. There's also little arguing that this king of fratire (a label Max hates, so let's use it a bunch!) can't co-write a film worth a damn.
The film version of Max's persona reads the same as his internet archive: a loud, boisterous, overly confident lady's man/braggart, with what may be a checklist of all the various women he wants to sleep with, ready to call women sluts or whores at first introduction. When Max (Matt Czuchry) takes two best friends, the recently cuckolded and now single Drew (Jesse Bradford) and soon to be married Dan (Geoff Stults), out for a wild bachelor's party, full of insulting women at bars and strip clubs, his selfish behavior causes Dan to get thrown in the drunk tank, his face bruised and beaten before his big day. Does he realize what he did wrong? If he does, does he even care, or is it more important to remind everyone he hooked up with a midget?
From the opening scenes featuring Max waylaying a deaf girl, so as to brag about it later, 'I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell' is one of the more damning films in recent memory. Immediately the character will rub you the wrong way, as he's such an absolute asshole that it's hard to not grow frustrated with his ridiculous antics. The venom dripping from every word coming from Max's mouth, whether he's trying to get a girl to either hook up or shut up just isn't funny on screen, as for 100 minutes we see pointless cruelty. To say the Tucker Max film character is an absolute twat is more based in fact than it is opinion.
Sure, it's funny at first to see a character draw the wrong message, the one only he wants, from everything, like hearing a story about a midget stripper involving in a discrimination case in law school, focusing on the existence and proximity to a midget stripper than the actual case. I get it. It's hard not to. But the film falls apart early. There is no real three act structure to be found here. The film goes from lying to go to the Salem strip joint, to a bar, to the strip joint, and back again. There's no real time for reflection. The time passes so fast that you can't see change in anyone (and since all three characters change, they don't exactly seem like rational, developed, rational progressions, just flips of a coin). There's a painfully prolonged scatological humor scene that is just awkward, not funny, that may have a payoff in the very calm moment after the storm, but the torturous journey to get there is just too damn much. By that point we've already seen characters use nearly every negative slang term in the book towards women, including comments about wanting to be violent against them, so an already bumpy road just becomes quicksand...and that's before the appearance of porn star Bridget Powers, aka Bridget the Midget.
Worst still, the end of the film is supposed to be some kind of reflection, where the Tucker Max character realizes his selfishness and general douchebaggery has cost him his closest friends, but even that is thrown away by Max, somewhat in character, admitting his revelations were lies, continuing on about his negative behavior as though nothing changed. The real life Tucker Max continues to live off his drunken asshole persona. Nothing has changed, not even the humbling reality that virtually no one went to see this film, and even fewer bought the DVD. To paraphrase the film, you need this like you need hepatitis c. The acting isn't anything that could redeem the horrid, unlikeable story. The intentionally unlikeable characters are so horrible that no redemption matters, as they're far past the point of no return. The raunch is hardly raunchy, and the constant belittling comments just are too damn much over the runtime of the film. Just be thankful it has an amazingly brisk pace. You'll want this juvenile lesson in fratire culture to be over fast.
The Disc: Vital Stats
Fox released this film on DVD sometime back now, and they're now releasing it as a catalog title on Blu-ray, with no frills of any kind. The disc is a BD25, with the Region A marking, but considering how Fox doesn't properly mark their titles, it may play worldwide. However, I feel I would be doing the world a disservice by verifying one way or another.
'I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell' is given a 2.35:1 framed 1080p encode using the AVC MPEG-4 tool (you know who else is a tool?), and the results are less than beautiful.
Detail levels are above average, particularly in the clear and sharp distinction in hair, and picture depth is a bit above average as well, never going truly deep deep, but enough so to be noticeable. That's all the good I'll say here. Some slight ringing can be annoying. Noise bursts are more so, sometimes dramatically spiking and drawing the eye in the wrong way. Whites can glow a bit, due to the excessively warm picture which also randomly makes skin tones go straight to 'Jersey Shore' levels. Detail levels in faces are absolutely minimal to non-existent, but a random blip here and there make dirt levels more than non-existent, sadly.
This film just doesn't look good, even if it's not an artifact riddled eyesore.
The default DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for 'I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell' is underwhelming.
Let's do some quick logic here, aight? You have a film that has a massive chunk taking place in a rowdy bar then, immediately afterwards, a crowded strip joint where there's action going on everywhere. So why are there such minimal bass levels? Why are rear speakers so minimally engaged? Sure, dynamics are spot on, but the absolutely ridiculously light ambience levels are noticeable in their virtual absence, and what should have been a loud, thumping track due to the setting is instead a peaceful walk in the park. Prioritization is no issue, but apparently having anything happen outside the front channels is.
You will not be roped into the film from its sound, I guarantee it.
One measly extra. Joy.
I won't deny it, there's some entertainment to be found on tuckermax.com, even if it's amazingly crude and a bit too full of bravado to not be full of shit. Max isn't the most endearing persona/character ever (and when you make yourself and your antics famous for all the wrong reasons, you are a persona more than a person), and the first film made from one of his books is a go nowhere, do nothing kind of film that may just be too much for most viewers. Yes, I enjoy a crude, disgusting film, the more mean spirited the better, but I prefer my films to have a point, especially to mask the mean spiritedness, and there's none here other than to say "Hey, I'm an asshole, look at me!" In the end, the best thing to do may be to just look the other way. Considering no store stocks this title, most of the work has already been done for you.