To Live and Write in LA

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

(Originally published on blogcritics.org)

DaleWithChainsawAs my daughter and I left the preview for Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, we couldn’t help but overhear two other reviewers trashing the film. “It was so repetitive…I didn’t think the motivation of the college girl was sufficiently established to support the romantic relationship…the dialogue was not convincing.”

I wanted to reach into the trunk of my car, pull out my chainsaw and yell, “Get a life, you pretentious film freaks! This is a bloody-teenager movie!”

OK, I don’t really carry chainsaw in the trunk of my car, but if I did I might have just got it out to swing around in celebration for one darn good satirical look at the bloody-teenager genre. (I hope that didn’t sound too much like a pretentious film freak.)

Tudyk and Labine

Tudyk and Labine

Director Eli Craig’s Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (opening September 30 and available on VOD) pokes good-natured, if bloody, fun at all those films that send bikini clad college girls to a lake in the woods and then rain down bloody terror. Did I say it was bloody?

Katrina Bowden

Katrina Bowden

Craig (Space CowboysThe Rage: Carrie 2) is also the writer along with Morgan Jurgonson (Glass Desert). I suspect the following keys were worn out on their keyboards – I, M, P, A, L, E.

And just so y’all don’t think I’m the kind of guy who actually goes to see bloody teenager movies, I’ll now make some sophisticated comparisons. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil brings a wry sense of humor to the genre, paying tribute to The Importance of Being Earnest and The Comedy of Errors.

OK, back to girls in bikinis. One such girl, Allison, played by Katrina Bowden (30 RockPiranha 3DD) (yeah, 3-DOUBLE-DEE, get it?) dives into the lake and hits her head on a rock (a thirty rock?). The two hillbillies, potrayed with touching sincerity, Tucker – Alan Tudyk (SerenityTransformers: Dark of the Moon) – and Dale -Tyler Labine (Mad LoveRise of the Planet of the Apes) – dive in to save her. As they pull her into the boat, from across the lake the rest of the (soon to be bloody) teenagers see this and conclude that the hillbillies have abducted her.

The rest of the movie explores the dire consequences of judging people by social stereotypes (oh, oh, I’m getting film-geeky again). Chaos ensues as the teenagers try to “rescue” Allison, and Tucker and Dale try to figure out what the heck is going on. Tucker laments, “I don’t know, Officer. I was just doin’ chores and kids began killin’ themselves all over my property.”

There is an especially enjoyable scene (unless you majored in Sociology) where Allison uses her sociology student skills to attempt a reconciliation between hillbilly and college student. Hint: don’t bet on this working. The plot contains some clever twists (Take that, couple in the parking lot!) and the film is an enjoyable, if bloody, send-up of the genre.

And, always remember, as Tucker said, “A PBR is a thing of beauty.”

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