Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: "Strange Brew" is a Strange Blend (Hapy B'day, Max von Sydow)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 89 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Adventures of Bob and Doug Mckenzie: Strange Brew (1983)
Running time: 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes)
DIRECTORS: Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas
WRITERS: Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas and Steve De Jarnatt
PRODUCERS: Louis M. Silverstein
EDITOR: Patrick McMahon

COMEDY with elements of sci-fi

Starring: Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Max von Sydow, Paul Dooley, Lynne Griffin, Angus MacInnes, Tom Harvey, Douglas Campbell, Brian McConnachie, Len Doncheff, and Mel Blanc (voice)

The subject of this movie review is The Adventures of Bob and Doug Mckenzie: Strange Brew, a 1983 Canadian comedy film. Also widely known as Strange Brew, the film stars Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (who also both direct the film) and features Max von Sydow as a villain.

Brothers Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug Mckenzie (Dave Thomas) are two beer-guzzling Canadians who luck upon a goldmine – an unlimited supply of beer – when they land jobs at the Elsinore Beer brewery. However, the two “hosers,” end up helping the beautiful Pam Elsinore save the brewery from her conniving Uncle Claude Elsinore (Paul Dooley) and the diabolical Brewmaster Smith (Max von Sydow), who plans on using his own concoction, a strange brew of Elsinore Beer to control the world. Hijinks ensue in this very loose, nutty, and slightly surreal reworking of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Adventures of Bob and Doug Mckenzie: Strange Brew or just Strange Brew (for the movie’s American release) was born out of a skit, “The Great White North” that appeared on “SCTV,” (1976-84) a Canadian sketch comedy television series that also aired in the U.S. (1981-85). The skit featured Bob and Doug, two brothers meant to parody Canadian culture. Eventually, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas’ characters actually became icons of the very culture they were mocking, and the “brothers” appeared in commercials and made cameo appearances on TV and in films. Before the act’s popularity faded, they also released two comedy albums, The Great White North: Bob and Doug Mckenzie and The Great White North: Strange Brew. Moranis and Thomas also played a variation of Bob and Doug when they provided the voices of the characters “Tuke and Root,” talking moose in the 2003 Disney animated feature, Brother Bear.

The SCTV skit also became the movie Strange Brew, which is unabashedly one of those intentionally “stupid movies” that are supposed to illicit laughter because they’re actually funny in their stupidity. Strange Brew is sometimes hilarious, often funny, and mostly entertaining. Actually, it is a bit surreal – almost a mixture of comedy and light drama – a farcical thriller. It’s a strange comedy/sci-fi/horror blend like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Strange Brew has long had cult status, and it’s a must see for serious fans of film comedies. The brothers are likeable, and the supporting cast is decent and also notable for an appearance by famed actor, Swedish-born actor, Max von Sydow.

6 of 10

Saturday, April 22, 2006

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