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May 7, 2010

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

by Franz Patrick


I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009)
★ / ★★★★

I decided to watch this movie because I loved Matt Czuchry in “Gilmore Girls” and I wanted to see what else he could do outside of that show. Directed by Bob Gosse and based on a novel by by Tucker Max, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” was about three guys (Czuchry, Jesse Bradford, Geoff Stults) who went to another city to go cruising and visit strip clubs for a bachelor party. This picture was unapologetically crude throwing gay jokes and lines about being violent to women like there’s no tomorrow. But in a way, I expected those because I read the film’s reviews prior. However, the issue I can’t forgive was its unbearable writing. With movies like “The Hangover” and “Hot Tub Time Machine,” they’re successful (or partially successful) because even though those movies had characters who acted like teenagers, the jokes were funny and we could root for the characters in some way. In this movie, I didn’t see anything special in any of the characters because the writing rested on frat boy typicality. When the movie tried to persuade the audiences that the lead character had some sort of a realization that his narcissism was ruining people’s lives, I just didn’t believe it. In fact, I literally scoffed during his redemption scene. If they were going to tell really mean jokes for pretty much the entire film, the filmmakers should have had the bravado to not follow Gosse’s book and really stick with what the main character was about: his love for himself and himself only. Suddenly changing a character for the sake of having a happy ending doesn’t work with a movie like this. For me, it shows that even though the material was edgy, it was still afraid to push the envelope. I have to admit that I did laugh with some of the lines that were said, especially by Bradford. There was something about his geekiness that somewhat reminded me of myself especially when I get in a really bad mood. I thought that out of the three, he was the most interesting. He had a heart despite his (sometimes funny, sometimes annoying) temper tantrums. As for Stults’ character, he was just boring. There was no dimension to him at all and I think he failed to take responsibility for his own actions. People might say he’s the nicest guy out of the three jerks but I’d argue otherwise. “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” had probably ten minutes of great material but the rest was just empty calories.

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