Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

MPAA (R) Roger Ebert (3 Stars) Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing -
Roger Ebert's review -

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (directed and co-written by Eli Craig along with Morgan Jurgenson) is not a profound movie ;-), but it seeks to right a decades-old wrong and so when I saw this movie advertised as coming to The Music Box theater here in Chicago number of weeks back, I made sure to not forget to go see it.  And it's all that it promised to be ;-).

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are two happy-go-lucky hicks from Appalachia, smilin' from ear to ear, drinkin' Pabst in their pickup truck as they head to Tucker's new fixer-upper "vacation home" (a broken down shack) out in the woods, rented wood-chipper in tow, when they come across a group of college students in an SUV at a gas station who're heading-up to the same woods for a weekend camping trip.

Dale finds one of the girls, Allison (Katrina Bowden), cute, but bearded and sweaty, is too afraid to talk to her.  Tucker convinces him to take a chance.  So really, really nervous, and wishing to hold onto something as he does this, Dale picks up a gigantic metal scythe from the back of Tucker's pickup truck and walks over the college students to "make conversation."  It doesn't go well ... ;-)

The next time Tucker and Dale run into the college students is later that afternoon.  Tucker and Dale are out fishin' in their little boat and the college students, thinking that they are alone, decide to go skinny dipping.  Seeing Allison on a big rock getting into her underwear, Dale just wants to "say hi," and waves. She screams falls off the rock, hits her head and sinks like a stone into the water.  At this point, Tucker and Dale paddle over frantically to try to save her, while the other college students run-away screaming thinking that the two strange looking "hicks" wanted to kidnap them.

Tucker and Dale retrieve Allison from the water, take her to their ram-shackle cabin and wait for her to wake-up.  When she does, initially she screams but soon realizes that the two really just wanted to make sure that she's okay.

In the meantime, the other college students come-up with increasingly strange and desperate attempts to "save" Allison from the hicks, always with disastrous results.  In one case, one of the college students decides to lunge at Tucker with his pitifully small pocket knife (basically the size of a nail clipper).  Unawares, Tucker is happily running brush through his wood chipper "clearin' the yard."  The college student sneaks up on him, lunges ...  only to find Tucker ducking (to pickup a piece of wood) at the last moment and ... Traumatized and now covered with blood from the now terribly deceased college student, Tucker runs back to the cabin to tell Dale what had just happened.

The two come to the conclusion that these college students must have made some kind of a bizarre suicide pact ("college students do that sort of thing ...") because they can't believe how many college students they had seen "die like flies" in the previous twelve hours.  That's the story that they (still covered with blood from trying to remove the chipped down to his waste college student from the wood-chipper, wondering how they're ever gonna clean it before returning it to its owner) tell a local cop who comes to the cabin to investigate complaints made by the college students.  Needless to say, the cop's not particularly convinced by the two hicks' story, but a terrible accident soon befalls the cop as well...

The only one who seems to understand what's going on (and isn't covered with blood ...) is Allison (who actually is almost always dressed in white).  A psych major, she starts to see Tucker and Dale as truly nice if terribly unlucky guys and tries to make peace between them and the increasingly smaller group of her college student friends.  It all, ends ... kinda ... well ;-).

After decades of "hicks are evil" mad-slasher flicks, I found the film  a "nice change of pace" ;-).

There's probably too much blood -- buckets of it really -- for the truly squeamish.  Still, I do think that even a 10 year old would understand this "story" to be "just a story."  And maybe a ten year old would appreciate even more than an adult the, yes, rather sick (but "kinda cool"... ;-) humor of watching a desperate but really, really determined college student, armed with a two inch pocket knife, lunging head-first into a wood-chipper ;-).  But there ya have it ... ;-)

So overall, it wouldn't be a particularly bad movie to find/rent for Halloween ;-).

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