Posted October 2, 2011 by whopperjaw in Flicks

‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’ offers some witty hillbilly humor

A low budget flick that’s been making the festival rounds all year before coming out this weekend in limited release at only 30 theaters nationwide, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a campy horror flick that benefits from never taking itself too seriously.

The film’s central plot is nothing novel. It surrounds college kids spending a weekend camping in the woods. The twist? A series of misinterpretations that result in the group of students having a hand in their own demise.

On the drive to camp, the youths encounter Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), a couple of overalls wearing, beer swilling, card-carrying hillbillies out to have a weekend getaway of their own at a recently purchased Appalachian vacation cabin. The two groups cross paths briefly at a convenience store where Dale makes a half-hearted attempt to introduce himself to Allison (Katrina Bowden), a beautiful blonde who catches his eye. As you can imagine, the exchange doesn’t go so well, in part because Dale is trying to flirt with a scythe in hand. It’s a funny scene that’s well-played by Labine, who can come off as a poor man’s Jack Black but displays his own personality here more so than he does in Rise of the Planet of the Apes or A Good Old-Fashioned American Orgy.

Once at the retreat, Dale and Tucker head out for some night fishing in the lake where the students just happen to be swimming. They backwoods duo witness Allison falling and hitting her head on a rock so they rescue her. Meanwhile, her friends mistakenly believe she’s been abducted. When Allison comes to she quickly realizes Tucker and Dale don’t plan to hurt her. But she can’t convince her friends of that fact and they continue to attack the hillbillies, with results that are so disastrous, Dale and Tucker think the college students must have made a suicide pact.

The film begins to flounder near the end. Director Eli Craig doesn’t quite know where to go with it once he runs out of college kids to kill off with flying hatchets, running wood chippers, and pointed branches. The attempt to create some kind of budding love story out of the relationship between Dale and Allison is so far-fetched, it’s not believable and it doesn’t benefit from the satire the way the rest of the storyline does. Still, even if can’t compare to a masterful send-up like Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil it is, as the manager of the theater where we saw it said, “funny enough.”


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