THUMBS DOWN FILM REVIEW RATING!
Ever heard of that movie Beaches starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey? Yeah? Well BEERFEST is the anti-Christ by comparison. We’re talking Mars and Venus here.
I have little doubt that every fraternity across the nation now has a DVD copy of Beerfest sitting in a place of reverence. The title alone would dictate that as a necessity. Not to mention the story is about beer, drinking beer, puking beer, death by beer, beer games, and secret beer recipes. Normally the destruction of brain cells is reserved for those who actually drink beer (I’ll admit that I imbibe on a very modest level), but watching this film will probably kill off a few extra IQ points all on its own.
Director/actor Jay Chandrasekhar isn’t known for his thought-provoking material anyway, and this should give you pause before sliding this silicon disc into your DVD player. Ever heard of the remake of The Dukes of Hazzard? Jay was the director.
The biggest problem with Beerfest is that it tries to pull up a plot via a film that doesn’t really have one. It’s supposed to be about two brothers, Jan Wolfhouse (Paul Soter) and Todd Wolfhouse (Erik Stolhanske), who take their grandfather’s ashes to Germany in order to intern them only to stumble upon a Fight Club-style organization devoted to drinking beer. The two brothers are humiliated to learn that their grandfather may have stolen an ancient beer recipe and fled Germany with a prostitute (their grandmother played by Cloris Leachman). The man who gives them this bitter news is none other than Wolfgang Von Wolfhaus (Jurgen Prochnow), the ring leader of Beerfest and embittered descendant of the man who lost the sacred recipe stolen by Jan and Todd’s grandfather.
After being disgraced by Wolfgang and the German drinking team, Jan and Todd return to America and form up their own Team USA Beerfest drinkers. They include the two brothers plus Landfill (Kevin Heffernan), a man who can drink beer by the truckload; Barry (Jay Chandrasekhar himself), a former beer ping-pong champion fallen on hard times who now lives under a bridge and sells himself as a male prostitute; and finally Fink (Steve Lemme), a Jewish professor with a penchant for masturbating frogs.
As Team USA’s beer bellies fill out, Team Germany sneaks onto U.S soil after they discover that Todd and Jan have found the secret beer recipe stolen so long ago. They do this via the funniest portion of the film. In a lake near the Wolfhouse brothers’ restaurant, Team Germany lurks beneath its surface in a submarine. With them is Jurgen Prochnow who comments, "I don’t want to stay here too long. I don’t like submarines. Had a bad experience in one once." This is obviously in reference to the excellent film Das Boot. But here is where any semblance of high-comedy ends and the sophomoric plunges onward. The obligatory multiple exposed breasts scene, the party house shot, the farting and belching humor, and the penis jokes all rule the rest of the movie.