Though slightly disappointing due to more than a year of bated anticipation of its release “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is an exceptionally side-splitting comedy.
That is to say that while writer/director Eli Craig’s flick is far from perfect, “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” remains an extraordinarily unique motion picture with one wicked sense of humor. Think of the movie as “Three’s Company’s” evil twin as it brilliantly taps into the dark side of misunderstandings, slaying the audience with hysterics ever step of the way.
Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine star as Tucker and Dale, respectively, a pair of unsuspecting backwoods buddies who are excited to finally enjoy their “vacation home” – a dilapidated cabin. However, when a group of spring breakers judge a book by its cover, things get killer complicated.
Tucker and Dale simply want to save one of the teens (Katrina Bowden) from drowning in the lake. But the spring breakers only see a bearded psychopath hauling a one of their friends away. And in trying to rescue her, the spring breakers continually off themselves, leaving Tucker and Dale scratching their heads over the resulting chaos.
The first hour of “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” provides nonstop laughter with Tudyk and Labine’s straightly played performances amplifying the authenticity of their actions (not to mention the sincerity of their flabbergasted reactions). Tudyk’s performance, in particular, best portrays the desperation and confusion that appears to exacerbate the situation.
Unfortunately, Craig eventually takes the material a bit too seriously and downplays the comedy in favor of legitimate thrills. The final 30 minutes of “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” seem a bit misguided, leaving viewers who were smitten with the filmmaker’s clever parody approach – and especially those who have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for the film to get a distribution deal – disappointed, if only slightly.
Perhaps that is a side effect of Craig’s comedy peaking too early or merely symptomatic of its single-joke plot. Either way, the filmmaker seems to have failed to tap into “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’s” full comic potential. And, believe me, the movie has a lot of it – most of which is not only accentuated but completely established by heart.
“Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” (R – 89 minutes) will screen Sept. 30-Oct. 6 exclusively at Harkins Valley Art and Oct. 7-20 exclusively at The Royale. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.
Listen to Joseph J. Airdo’s “Movie Maverick” radio segment, every Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. during “The Daily Blender with Jeffry O’Brien” on KBSZ – NBC 1260 AM and 96.1 FM.