'The Greatest Beer Run Ever' Is the Warm PBR of Political Commentary

Directed by Peter Farrelly

Starring Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, Bill Murray

Photo courtesy of TIFF

BY Alex HudsonPublished Sep 29, 2022

Despite the silly name, The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a movie of Big Themes: the horrors of war, the arrogance of Americans who inherently assume they're the good guys, the role of journalists in holding governments accountable, and polarizing politics within a once-united nation. And so, watching the latest film from (past TIFF winner) Peter Farrelly, it's tempting to spend the two-hour runtime looking for a lesson: what is this movie going to teach us about America in 2022?

Beer Run aims at easy targets. It's the true story of Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron), a merchant seaman with nothing to do in the off-season, who decides to travel from New York to Vietnam in 1967 to deliver beer to his army buddies. Even from that once-sentence synopsis, everyone reading this review already knows the takeaway of this movie: delivering beer to a war zone is a stupid fucking thing to do, and Mr. Team America is about to learn that this war isn't so noble after all.

War is bad and politicians lie, etc. Sure, it's possible to extrapolate these lessons to 2022, but by examining the atrocities of 1967, the film doesn't offer all that much perspective on contemporary America. This is an ostensibly political movie that isn't likely to push any buttons or offend anyone.

Instead, The Greatest Beer Run Ever is best enjoyed at surface level, as a silly lark full of shockingly ill-advised buffoonery. Chickie often resembles the numskulls of Farrelly's Dumb and Dumber, as his has such obstinate confidence in his plan that he barely seems to notice when his presence nearly gets his friends killed. And, of course, it's satisfying to watch his perspective shift as things inevitably go sideways. It's a bit of a tonal mess between dumbass comedy and grim war drama, but that's kind of the point.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever probably won't enlighten anyone's political perspectives, but it finds comedy in a dire situation. And it weirdly made me crave a warm PBR, and I don't even like beer.

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