Some warm and cold drinks are served.
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is the follow up to Peter Farrelly’s Oscar-winning film “Green Book.” Let me make a distinction. It’s not his greatest movie, but it’s also not his worst (that would be “Movie 43” and his produced “Say It Isn’t So”). This is the kind of dialogue that’s presented throughout the movie.
Russell Crowe’s war correspondent character tells Zac Efron’s tourist character that bringing American-made beer to his Vietnam War soldier buddies is not the smartest idea, but it’s also not the worst idea.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Efron is Chick Donohue, or better known as Chickie, a former soldier-turned-drunken-layabout, who decides to bring beers to his buddies fighting in the Vietnam War. This is a true story, and this actually happened. And the real Chickie is still alive today.
It may have been the booze talking, but he goes through with this ridiculous idea. He has to work on a ship in order to travel to the country with a duffel bag of beer, which he borrows from the local bartender (Bill Murray, Farrelly’s collaborator). There’s more than enough for the boys, and I’m amazed he didn’t strain his back. Or maybe he did and that was off screen. Either way, he was able to dodge bullets and CGI agents who thought he was one of them and that he would rat them out about what really went on in the war.
Nobody really likes a warm beer, and that would imply to how the screenplay doesn’t give the real-life character his due, and basically has him dealing with the same situations over and over again. Parts of the movie are a bit overblown with the peace protests against the war, and how Chickie is required by the screenplay to sit on a pile of elephant crap.
But there are enough cold ones, and that would pertain to the laughs thanks to Efron’s dopey character and how Farrelly films him doing and saying one dumb thing after another. But there’s also a truth to this character, which the actor reflects quite well. He has to see the true horrors of this particular war, and when he acknowledges that, he’s given sincerity and some tears.
Crowe does some good work as the reporter. At first, he seems like a cameo character given his star billing to help sell tickets, but then he comes back to prove himself more than that. And Kevin K. Tran has his value as a Vietnamese traffic cop, who takes a liking to Chick.
And out of the soldier buddies Chickie reunites with, Rick Duggan (Jake Picking, “Top Gun: Maverick”) is the one whom you’re interested in, because of his mature aspects toward Chickie. The strangest thing is that Efron and Picking were both in “Dirty Granda.” Unlike that bomb, this one is funny, and these two have chemistry.
The reviews for this have been mixed-to-negative, and I can probably see why. Let me clarify with my opinion. “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is not the greatest Vietnam War movie of all time (that would be “Apocalypse Now”), but it’s also not the worst and that’s a good thing. It’s mostly because of how Efron carries the film, and how Farrelly guides him without trying to bringing in the Generation Y and Z crowds.
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