Alex Reviews "The Greatest Beer Run Ever"
Almost equal parts Forrest Gump and Platoon, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” follows Zac Efron as New York loser “Chickie” Donohue, who decides to bring beer to the guys from his neighborhood fighting in the Vietnam War to show them that not everyone back home is against them the way the media presents. Along the way, he learns that his views on the war might just be completely wrong, even if from a place of best intentions.
Peter Farrelly (Green Book) takes on a Herculean task as both writer and director to tell a story so ridiculous that nobody would believe it if there weren’t evidence. Adding to the difficulty here was the decision for the film to start as an outright comedy and gradually get darker as it progresses. While it makes certain moments almost disconnected, it made the climax of the story feel that much more visceral despite being in the vein of a war that has been used quite a few times on film. Along with this, I wanted to give an odd shoutout to the location management team who crush their jobs in finding places that gave the film a strong setting from northern New Jersey standing in for Inwood, New York as well as Thailand replicating various areas of Vietnam.
From an acting standpoint, Efron feels wildly out of place, but that could be the point here. He begins as a very believable idiot; however, the way this script is written, I was able to feel the growth of the character as he experiences all of the ups and downs he goes through. It is actually pretty impressive to see how his mannerisms, posture, and delivery evolve on a level that made me think how Bill Murray or Russell Crowe perfectly anchor the character to his beliefs and experiences from beginning to end.
While this may not be listed amongst the greatest war movies ever made, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is definitely worth the watch as a unique experience where nobody is truly right or wrong with how many of its lessons can be applied today.