Sunday, October 2, 2011

Movie with Abe: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Directed by Eli Craig
Released September 30, 2011

Any good buddy movie needs, more than anything else, a well-paired duo. Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk both have their roots in cult sci-fi television shows, with the former appearing on both “Invasion” and “Reaper” and the latter having been a crucial cast member on the eternally beloved “Firefly.” Since then, neither has found a stable gig, and “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” presents a highly productive use of their talents. It’s hardly your conventional buddy movie, offering up a hilarious parody of horror movies by pegging its title characters as the unintentional villains when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It’s often hard to make fun of something without mimicking it, which is to say that some horror comedies can be pretty darn scary. In “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” the extent of violence might be frightening, but not the actual sequence of events and the revelation of them. Tucker and Dale are both rather dim-witted and unable to function terribly well in social situations, and it’s no surprise that they are assumed to be dangerous and potentially murderous by the group of impossibly dumb college students who encounter them as they head out to their West Virginia vacation cabin.

What ensues is a comedy of errors of epic and disastrous proportions. Those who find excessive violence unfunny and offensive will not be pleased, but those less opposed will be in for an enthralling and hilarious ride. The construction of the story, in which the college kids, as Tucker and Dale continually refer to them, continually manage to end their lives, one by one, in ways that seem to implicate the buddies in their deaths, is actually quite clever, and nothing else if not thoroughly entertaining. The appalled reactions from Tucker and Dale seal the deal, providing an entirely amusing experience.

Labine and Tudyk are great stars to have these parts, and together, they make a great pair. There are familiar faces among the college kids, including Brandon Jay McLaren, who recently appeared on “The Killing,” but the true breakout is Katrina Bowden, who plays Allison, the only semi-intelligent member of the group. Bowden, who many will know as the air-headed Cerie from “30 Rock,” is actually quite skilled at balancing comedy with sexuality, and she plays the part with just the right energy. Even if the story takes a turn for the more ridiculous in its third act, it never shows any signs of slowing down, providing a great hillbilly ride with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.


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