First, a quick recap of my exposure to Tucker Max. At some point I visited his site, and read all of his stories in one sitting. He writes about his escapades, usually drunken sexual rampages, in such a way that someone who has never had a drink is still engaged. I'd check his blog once in a while when I was bored, but it wasn't until he started writing about the experience of creating a movie that I started reading every post habitually. He did a great job of explaining in layman's terms how a movie is made. Just as I enjoyed his drunken stories as a non-drinker, I enjoyed his posts about film making as a non-film-maker.
Tucker was gracious enough to let me stop by the set while filming, and also to give me tickets to the premiere in SF.
I went to the premiere with no idea what to expect. On one hand I'd read the movie blog, which shared audience reactions and screen testing results. They were overwhelmingly positive. I knew that Tucker was focused solely on making the best movie possible, and was determined enough to push for his vision.
On the other hand, the trailer was terrible. It looked like it was filmed on a handicam and wasn't particularly funny. I checked Rotten Tomatoes before going to the premiere and saw that I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell had one of the worst ratings I'd ever seen.
I was a bit worried. Tucker is very transparent and honest on his blog, which endears you to him and makes you want for the movie to be a success. He says that his mission is to treat his fans like he'd want to be treated, and unlike everyone else who say that, he's means it and it's reflected in his actions.
While they waited for the crowd to assemble, Tucker and his co-writer, Nils, had members of the audience tell stories. The two of them would rip on the fan, everyone would laugh, and the next person would get a crack at telling a story without being mercilessly made fun of. Few got by.
Finally the lights dimmed and the movie started.
Scene by scene passed with me laughing along with the rest of the audience. Not the polite chuckle most movies get, but real genuine belly laughs. The jokes were funny AND smart. Some were obvious, some were more subtle, but none were condescending to the audience. It reminded me of Arrested Development,sometimes ridiculous, but always clever.
The plot was better than I expected, the acting was excellent, but what surprised me the most was how good the characters were. Each one was really well defined, had depth, and was likeable. I expected them to blend together a lot more.
The complaints by protestors,namely that Tucker promotes "rape culture" and hates women, are a clear indication that none of them have actually seen the movie. I thought that the movie was MORE respectful towards women than most. Tucker makes fun of a fat girl, but he also flirts with her and she has the last laugh. Strippers get blasted, too, but one of the most likeable characters in the whole movie is a stripper.
I don't want to write too much and give things away, so I'll leave you with this: the movie is fun, it's funny, and it's made with integrity. If you're not very easily offended (and really it's probably not as offensive as you think), you'll enjoy seeing the movie.
Will it be the huge commercial success that Tucker's hoping for? I have no idea, but I'm rooting for him.