Tuesday, 30 August 2011



Radio 5's Dr Sir Mark Kermode has a rule about comedy: there should be a minimum of six decent laughs throughout the running time. Frankly I think that's setting the bar very low: for a 90-minute film that's one laugh every 15 minutes. A sitcom episode or a panel show which only had two laughs in it would be considered insufficiently funny even by modern TV comedy standards. Granted that humour is subjective - I've sat stolidly with people almost literally wetting themselves at The Hangover and still found it impossible to accept we were watching the same screen - and everyone's sense of humour (or lack thereof) is personal and unique, it's such a joy when a film with a huge number of laughs turns up AND everyone else in the cinema seems to be enjoying it just as much as you are.

So it is with Tucker And Dale Vs Evil. What apparently starts out as yet another tedious American horror film in which a bunch of pretty young halfwits in an SUV drive into the wilderness arguing about sex and beer actually ends up as an absolute hoot as it's basically Laurel And Hardy Accidentally Kill A Bunch Of Dim Teenagers. The titular Tucker And Dale - a pair of hillbilly buddies are fishing on the lake outside their "holiday home" (a fixer-upper shack) when they see one of the teens fall into the water; their rescue and subsequent attempts to return her to her friends are consistently misinterpreted as threats by the judgemental idiots. They mount a rescue operation to free the girl from what they perceive as backwards backwoods maniacs, but only end up causing more bloody mayhem....

It's not a horror movie, although there's plenty of blood and gore. Really, it's a nice, warm, rude, and rather sweet black comedy, albeit one with several spectacular and genuinely hilarious death scenes in the worst of good bad taste. At its heart is the friendship between good-hearted dimwits Tucker And Dale and the growing relationship between Tucker and their inadvertent captive Allison, taking the edge off the escalating carnage as the idiot teens start ending up dead. Maybe it loses it a little in the closing stretch as the leader of the idiot teens becomes ever more unreasoning and tiresome, but most of the film is such a good-natured if splattery romp that it's easy to forgive. Terrific fun.


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