Peter Farrelly follows up his Oscar-winning GREEN BOOK with a surprisingly striking look at the Vietnam War. Here is my full breakdown of the rather moving, THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER.
Since the hey day of the Farrelly brothers near lockdown on cringe-worthy comedy the bros have made an intriguing fork in their careers. Both brothers dived into episodic TV series most notably working on the underrated LOUDERMILK and the ROKU mini-series THE NOW. Peter Farrelly though teamed up with actor/writer Brian Hayes Currie to bring forth a much more dramatic side to Peter’s film directing. THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER is both a continuation of the solo Peter Farrelly and his new felt take on merging dramatic material with tinges of comedic value. The move from dark comedy to humorous drama has been enlightening.
THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER starts as a honest yet stereotypical look at a torn New York family dealing with the Vietnam War. Zac Efron as the slightly aloof Chickie Donohue, oldest son of the family, who has the bold idea to bring beers to a group of his Army deployed friends. This misguided adventure is universally disliked and dismissed by Chickie’s family, friends and neighborhood. As the threat of his actually attempting this suicidal odyssey the neighborhood seems to change its mind. The impact to the family and his friends will be felt by the film’s triumphant close.
The magic though in this film is not the absurdity of Chickie’s journey but the amazing personal transformation he goes through. The film has a witty script that masks the real intent by playing into the stereotypes of the proud American, hippie anti-war protestor, and confused youth. The movie really grabs hold of your emotions the moment Chickie lands in Vietnam. The rich cast of talent populating the film is highlighted by the aged Bill Murray, the stoic Russell Crowe and a lovable heartbreaking performance by Kevin K. Tran as Hieu aka “Oklahoma”. Mix in the numerous neighborhood fellas both in NYC and in Vietnam for a rather intriguing ensemble. Efron though shines brightest when confronting and eventually being changed by Crowe’s worldly Coates character. The fine cast obviously takes this film seriously and thus makes it more meaningful to see our Chickie completely grow up from this crazy quest.
The magical musical score by Dave Palmer (another Loudermilk crew member!) and the song choices by music supervisors Manish Ravel and Tom Wolfe elevate the film to new heights. The Ravel/Wolfe connection helped make GREEN BOOK a classic soundtrack and I believe they’ve done it again with THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER. The wise slow build on a nostalgic reflection of the music and times going on both grounds and changes the film. The emotional turmoil unleashed when cautious fully engulfs Saigon in the movie is heightened by Palmer’s score. This musical merging through the film is such a treat and one of the reason why this movie really builds your trust and love. It perfectly fits with the wonderful cinematography of underrated Sean Porter!
Peter Farrelly is a filmmaker that is transcending into a more viable statement maker with each new choice. GREEN BOOK may have its detractors but the emotional journey is rather beautiful. I feel that THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER is an even more enjoyable Farrelly production because of how much the War is treated with anger and respect. This film feels more honest from its filmmaker than at anytime in his and his brother’s career. Don’t get me wrong the Farrelly bros comedy still holds strong but if this is the new Peter Farrelly, in the last two films and Loudermilk series, than BRAVO!
I highly recommend this film.
For my North Texas friends and readers the film has an EXCLUSIVE run at the CINEMARK PLANO starting today!
The film starts it Apple TV + run the following Friday on September 30th.
4.5 out of 5 Stars.
Directed by: Peter Farrelly
Written by: Peter Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie and Pete Jones with story based from the real lives of the Chickie and his neighborhood’s friends.
Running Time: 2h 6min
Adventure / Comedy / Drama
Exclusive release September 23rd at CINEMARK WEST PLANO and streaming on Apple TV+ on September 30.
Starring: Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, and Bill Murray.