I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell Dir. Bob Gosse

[Rudius Films/Darko Entertainment; 2009]

Due to the toxic reputation of its source material, it's possible that I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, based on Tucker Max's artless-fuck diary of the same name, is the least anticipated film of 2009. Though protesters at preview screenings have warned that the its subject is the epitome of "rape culture," the filmmakers and Matt Czuchry (Logan from Gilmore Girls), who plays Max, do their best to portray the "author" as a harmless sociopath, not unlike American Pie's beloved Stifler, wandering through a Hangover-esque yarn in which the sexism is acknowledged as a defense mechanism, when it isn't just whimsical prude-baiting. Not that this keeps the film from sucking, hardcore.

The plot concerns Max's attempt to throw a bachelor party for his beleaguered best friend, Peter Krause clone Geoff Stults. Joined by recently cuckolded Jesse Bradford (in a robotic performance guaranteed to break the hearts of Bring It On fans), the trio hops from club to club, alienating every woman they meet with vulgar put-downs and, in Bradford's case, overly enunciated threats of violence. The intoxicated Stults is abandoned to the cruelties of fate when his pals find strippers worth nailing, one approved for her similarly acidic sense of humor and soul, the other a nymphomaniac midget. Are you laughing yet? Disinvited to the wedding for his life-endangering solipsism, Max wrestles with conflicting emotions (and easily-offended "whores") until a Wedding Crashers-inspired prank turns the film's shit-wallowing horrifyingly literal, eventually revealing a bona fide moral to our hero: bros before hoes. Awww.

It's not worth considering why Shooting Gallery co-founder and former Parker Posey paramour Bob Gosse would direct a movie so antithetical to the 90s indie scene he sprang from -- and if he has any skills to sell out, they're not visible here. Despite the commercial canniness of presenting Max as a puckish rascal merely looking for women who can take a joke and a dick, Gosse's lack of budget-cloaking technique -- is that a strip club or a community theater with extra curtains? -- makes it hard to imagine the movie appealing to anyone who wouldn't take their rape culture straight. And it's a wonder Max hasn't lost that audience to web porn already.

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