Friday, October 5, 2012

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Directed by Eli Craig.
2010. Rated R, 88 minutes. 
Tyler Labine 
Alan Tudyk 
Katrina Bowden 
Jesse Moss 
Chelan Simmons 
Philip Granger 
Brandon Jay McLaren 
Christie Laing 
Travis Nelson 
Alex Arsenault

A group of college kids is doing what groups of college kids do in some of our favorite slasher flicks. They’re going on a camping trip deep in a secluded wooded area. These kids have seen a few of these movies themselves. Maybe they’ve seen too many. They’re even aware of the slaughter of another group of co-eds that happened twenty years ago in the very spot where they decide to roast marshmallows. Our bunch is made up of the usual cast of would-be victims: the obnoxious preppy guy, two blondes we can differentiate by cup size, a generic but not stereotypically urban black guy with matching girl, and a couple other “just dudes”. Somehow an Asian is missing, but I digress. All you really need to know is that they’re hyper-sensitive to the idea that the local yokels are homicidal maniacs itching for fresh meat.

Enter the local yokels. They’re named Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) and are pretty obviously inspired by George and Lennie from Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice and Men.” They are far from maniacal. Slow witted? Yes. Killers? No. They spend most of their time fishing and drinking beer. As luck would have it, they’re going into the same woods as the co-eds to fix up the old cabin Tucker has just purchased and intends to use as a vacation home. We get the idea they have not seen many slasher flicks. Through a massive misunderstanding the kids think they’ve stumbled into a real life version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Because of a series of unfortunate events, Tucker and Dale think the co-eds have some sort of weird suicide pact. Believe it or not, comedy ensues.

Yes, I said comedy. The dialogue is insanely funny and makes clear that everyone on both sides just wants out of the situation yet, no one can figure out how to make that happen. There is one exception: the obnoxious preppy guy. He’s anxious to rescue the not-as-busty blonde. It seems to him and the others that Tucker and Dale have her bound, gagged and are torturing her. More misunderstandings, of course.

On display is some seriously clever writing to keep this ruse going as long as it does. It also keeps us laughing in the process. That is, you’ll be laughing if you’re a slasher fan and/or can take a joke about our beloved genre. Oh, it helps to have a twisted sense of humor. I suppose a kid accidentally impaling himself on a spear isn’t funny to everyone. Meh…(shrugs shoulders)…I laughed and did so heartily. The wood chipper scene is even more hilarious. What can I say? Occasionally, I’m only physically an adult. No matter how mature you are, you’ll probably laugh even as you cringe. That’s because it’s all about tone. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil strikes the perfect one.

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