The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022)

‘Beer’ goes flat quickly

Director Peter Farrelly follows up his Oscar-winning “Green Book” with another variation on the road-trip scenario long favored by the native Rhode Islander. But this is no “Dumb and Dumber” or “Kingpin,” although it features the latter’s Bill Murray as a grizzled bartender. No, this is serious. Or, is it?

Farrelly and his co-writers, Brian Hayes Currie and Pete Jones, can’t seem to decide in the telling of the inert, allegedly true story, of John “Chickie” Donohue (Zac Efron), a directionless blowhard from Manhattan’s tightly knit Inwood neighborhood, who has the “bright” idea to personally deliver individual cans of Pabst to his townie pals fighting in Vietnam. It’s even more ridiculous than it sounds. It’s familiar fare for Farrelly, who, as with “Green Book,” sends a clueless chowderhead into dangerous territory to “learn” basic truths about a struggle of which he had no concept.

While Efron is awkwardly charming as Chickie, he’s overmatched by the film’s quest to “educate” us on the atrocities of a war gravely misrepresented by lying politicians. Farrelly seems to think even those with a basic knowledge of the Vietnam debacle are ignorant of this truth. It’s insulting, not to mention boring rehashing undisputed facts. But that’s the least of the movie’s problems. Besides being inane sitcom fodder, it also suffers from an episodic structure, as Chickie flits from one battleground to the other, never failing to find whomever he’s looking for among tens of thousands of soldiers.

The running joke is that various brass mistakes Chickie as a CIA agent, a misconception he learns to play off of repeatedly. It never fails him, or that’s what we’re led to believe. If our military was really this stupid, we’d all be under the communist rule Chickie so reviles. Russell Crowe lends a modicum of gravitas late in the picture as a jaded photojournalist helping Chickie to see the error of his right-wing beliefs. It’s about as close as the film comes to taking a stance. Like war, “The Greatest Beer Run” is its own kind of hell.

Movie review

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Rated: R for language and some war violence

Cast: Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, Bill Murray and Kyle Allen

Director: Peter Farrelly

Writers: Peter Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie and Pete Jones

Runtime: 126 minutes

Where to see: Apple TV+

Grade: D

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