In one of those weird confluences of events, Hollywood’s four new releases this week are all about men testing and challenging themselves through play, whether that’s football, music, drinking, or eating worms. Maybe the studios are releasing these movies during this last week of August because they think that we’re supposed to start focusing on weightier matters come September. (How silly of them, if that’s true!) Whatever their reasoning, I’ve got the scoop on three of those films. The fourth, the OutKast musical Idlewild, didn’t screen in time for our deadlines, and I’m pissed about that.

Late summer is the time for college students to head back for another semester. Before gearing up for their keg parties, they might want to check out Beerfest, by the comedy troupe known as Broken Lizard. The five-man group of Colgate University grads also did Super Troopers and Club Dread before snagging a big-ticket entry with last year’s Dukes of Hazzard movie. They dropped the ball with that, but that project wasn’t really them. This, for better or worse, is them. Not only that, it’s funnier than anything else they’ve done so far.

Maybe that’s because, the title notwithstanding, the movie is actually a delicate character study full of literate dialogue and penetrating insights into the nature of human … Oh, who am I kidding? It’s about an international beer-drinking contest, and it begins with a disclaimer in red letters: “If you attempt anything you see in this movie, YOU WILL DIE!” No joke. One of the first things the main characters do is lock themselves in a room with a full keg and vow not to leave until they’ve drunk the whole thing. Since there’s only five of them, that works out to about 25 beers per. Maybe that’s how the lizard got broken.

Previous articleArtists at Work
Next articleHooray for Us, Dammit