Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"The Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew" - Unsequelized: December 8,2010


In the history of comic cinematic duos, no two characters have deserved a shot at further adventures on the big screen than SCTV spin-offs Bob and Doug McKenzie. (On a related note, no two charcters deserved that second chance less than Wayne and Garth, whose Wayne's World 2 pretty much killed off any goodwill left for those characters. Funny how Mike Myers tends to repeat himself in that way.) Like a lot of the comedians who inspired them and who they in turn inspired Bob and Doug's first film could have easily been parlayed into even more ridiculous laugh-riots. As it stands all we have now is this film, one whose power to make me laugh has lasted for almost three decades.

Strange Brew starts off with a very drunken MGM lion burping his way through the pre-title sequence. Obviously, based on the beer-fueled comedy that B&D are known for, this seems apropos and more; a simple, winking indicator that we are clearly watching a big-budget film starring to of TV's biggest drunks. After that the camera pulls back to reveal B&D standing behind the lion, chastising him for his drunken stupor, while making their way to an all-too familiar TV set. From here, you'd be forgiven for believing the movie will be an expensive SCTV skit.

We get into B&D showing their own low-budget "movie", a ridiculous sci-fi flick that they literrally describe kinda like Omega Man. After that the film destroys itself, and B&D are left trying to fix the calamity, we are treated to the first of many meta moments as we see an audience watching this all unravel on a big screen. (Pretty funny dig at Cheech and Chong's movies, when a patron scream "hey, they did this on their album) We've been watching a B&D movie that the audience in the B&D movie we're watching is watching. Beauty, eh?

From their the ridiculous never stops, unleashing some of the most off-the-cuff absurdity ever to grace the silver screen. It's heady, wild stuff to be sure, so much so that it would be impossible to recount here. Suffice it to say, the film is largely based on Hamlet, with B&D standing in as a proxy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; they even seemingly die at one point in the film, in a fashion similar to the expiration of R&G in the original play. Outside of that paper thin excuse of a plot is mad scientist plots to control the world with beer, hockey playing mental ward patients forced to fight via drug experimentation, B&D's flying beer-drinking, donut-munching dog Hosehead and even more inanity.

It'd be easy to excuse this as sheer stupidity, much like many have, but there is a real genius here, on the level of Monty Python. While most of the comedy would leave you scratching your head if you tried to rationalize it in some form dictated by a more technical, straightforward method of filmmaking, the laughs will never stop if you look at it as an absurdist comedy, i.e Python's Holy Grail or the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie.

On top of all that it is one of the most quotable movies I've ever watched, on a level with Ghostbusters and Animal House. Most of these may be ridiculous outside of the context of the film but the moment you start to think about the lines rolling off the tongues of the characters in the movie, you'll have the biggest smile on your face.

Okay hosers, listen up. If you haven't seen it, you need to. If you haven't seen it in a while, sync it up some time soon. If you watched it last night, chances are good you'll be watching it again some time very soon. Abuse it all you like. It's the only thing we have in this Bod and Doug sequel-free universe. Maybe when we figure out how to jump universes, all Sliders-like, we can find a universe filled with many Bob and Doug movies; one that has a seeming embargo against any Mike Myers sequel.


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