Score another one for men behaving badly! I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is the cinematic adaption of one man’s literary ode to his own debaucherous, raunchy antics, as it follows three friends through the bumpy ride of an ad hoc bachelor party. Echoing elements of The Hangover (and going about ten steps farther), the film features over-the-top, sometimes clunky dialogue and inconsistent laughs, but the rough texture somehow enhances the characters’ believability.
Tucker Max (Matt Czuchry) is the ringleader who insists on a last hurrah at a famous strip club. He corrals Dan (Geoff Stults), the well-behaved bachelor, and the love-lorn Drew (Jesse Bradford), who’s dour demeanor is only worse after discovering his fiancée face down in a rapper’s lap. Their boys’ night out, as one might expect, unravels amid excessive drinking, entrepreneurial strippers, bodily injury and, in one case, a run-in with the cops.
While some of Beer in Hell’s irregular pacing and self-conscious, misogynistic one-liners lend an amateurish feel, sometimes the dialogue is refreshingly honest, in an almost inyour-face obtuseness toward Hollywood convention. When Drew encounters romance in an unlikely place, the object of his affection challenges the very childish attitudes that the movie exalts as men’s protected sphere. Combined with some of the challenges
Tucker faces following the bachelor party (let’s just say he’s persona non grata), there’s an admirable conscience that grounds the movie more than it might seem.
Plus, as broad as some of the character sketches are -- like the bride’s fun-squashing, bible-thumping mom and the warm-hearted stripper who’s ready for a relationship -- the three main characters are not unlike real trios of rag-tag guys who slip into stereotypical kinds of roles. Czuchry, who charmed on Gilmore Girls, proves he has great presence in this big-screen debut. Some of his lines aren’t funny enough to get away with being so despicable, but the actor pulls it off, capturing that kind of fun-loving guy who knows no consequences -- thanks to the gift of gab and, obviously, those adorable dimples.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is rough around the edges -- and audiences should be prepared for dialogue that aims for shock and awe -- but its essential humanity and mild hilarity, at times, saves it. In truth, movie-goers don’t really need another anthem for men who get laid a lot, like their booze and happily behave badly most of the time. But Tucker Max is oddly likable, even if he goes on a little too long talking about it.