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Movie Review: "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Theatrical Release: 9/30/2011

Theatrical Release: 9/30/2011

Synopsis

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) have saved up some money and have made a big purchase. They bought a lake house and, while it is definitely a fixer-upper, they know they can turn it into the vacation home of their dreams. Thus, they make a trip up to the lake to work on fixing up the house.

Meanwhile, a group of college kids go camping at the very same lake. They are weirded out by the two hillbillies, Tucker and Dale, but things take a horrific turn when they believe the hillbillies have kidnapped one of their friends. Tucker and Dale are just trying to mind their own business while they fix up the house. However, the college kids are in a fight for their lives while they try to save their friend. The result is a huge misunderstanding that has taken a disastrously horrific turn.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Premise (+10pts)

Chad (-4pts)

Tucker & Dale (+6pts)

The Therapy Scene (-2pts)

Allison & Dale (+6pts)

The Ending (-4pts)

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Pro: The Premise (+10pts)

What is the premise of this movie? That is a more complicated question than it is for most movies, because this movie is really about a colossal misunderstanding, and the premise changes drastically depending on the perspective you are looking at it from. From one perspective, the movie is about a couple of hillbillies trying to fix up their house, while a group of college kids run around their property like a bunch of suicidal lunatics. From another perspective, the movie is about a group of college kids trying to enjoy a camping trip when a couple of murderous hillbillies kidnap one of their friends.

This movie was a lot of fun, and this premise was the primary reason why. The premise delivered a ton of comedic moments. The comedy was silly on the surface, but was actually really clever when considering the multiple perspectives and how each action could be perceived from each side. This made the comedy as clever as it was hilarious. The premise is certainly ridiculous, but just go with it. I for one, am really glad I did because this movie and its premise gave me plenty of memorable, hard, laugh-out-loud moments. I honestly do not remember the last time that I laughed so hard at a movie.

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Con: Chad (-4pts)

Chad was such a good name for this character. When you think of the stereotype of a "Chad", you think of an arrogant jock type character. I am not trying to suggest that everyone named "Chad" is like that, but if you are writing a movie and have to create a college kid named "Chad", that would be the stereotype that you would go for. This Chad is full of himself, is trying to "get with" the main female character, is very aggressive, and pretty much just thinks he is the hottest thing since sliced bread. The character was very annoying, but I think Jesse Moss (the actor in the role) delivered exactly what the filmmakers wanted from the character.

All of the character's qualities may seem fine on the surface, but everything about this character was dialed up for this movie. He was clearly, right from the introduction of the character, intended to be the primary antagonist of the movie. Everything he did was exaggerated, especially the character's aggression, and I think the movie would have been better off if the filmmaker's went in the opposite direction with the character. This movie worked best when it was playing with the multiple perspectives of this movie. Every incident had two very different potential point of views, and both of them were completely understandable. The character was annoying, sure, but by making Chad the obvious villain of this story, the filmmakers lost some of what made this premise so great.

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Pro: Tucker & Dale (+6pts)

I really enjoyed the friendship between the two titular characters. Tucker (Alan Tudyk) is the leader of the duo. He knows what he wants, and knows what to do to make it happen (or I should say that he thinks he knows what to do, and Dale does not know enough to question him). He clearly looks after Dale, always has a plan and Dale looks up to him for it.

Dale (Tyler Labine) is somewhat of an oblivious follower, which lets him deliver plenty of comedy, but definitely gives the impression that Tucker regularly has to act as a sort of babysitter or mentor. The two characters worked really well together, and I loved watching them in their state of panic throughout this movie. The two characters had a strong friendship that translated well to the screen, because of the strong chemistry between the actors. Their characters' hysterical confusion was really fun to watch, but their chemistry made the characters' friendship really easy to get invested in.

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Con: The Therapy Scene (-2pts)

I will not get into this issue with too much detail, because the scene happens toward the end of the story and talking about it with too much detail could definitely spoil some things. What I will say about this scene is that I thought it was dumb. This scene gave the opportunity for certain characters to meet, which gave them the opportunity to explain themselves, but they did not do that, which was pretty convenient for the writers. I also did not buy either character's motivations for wanting to meet. Everything about the scene just raised too many questions that poked massive logic-holes in this part of the story. I think this scene either needed a lot more work, or should have been taken out of the movie all together.

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Pro: Allison & Dale (+6pts)

Another element of the story that provided a lot of comedy was Dale's infatuation with Allison. Dale develops a bit of a crush on Allison, but he has no idea how to talk to women. Meanwhile, Allison was on edge because of her situation. You know, from thinking that Tucker and Dale wanted to kill her and all. This “relationship” made for a number of hilariously awkward moments that did a decent job of keeping me entertained and laughing during the movie’s slower, less chaotic scenes.

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Con: The Ending (-4pts)

I loved the premise of this movie. It provided a ton of great comedy, but while the filmmakers had a great premise, they clearly had a tough time wrapping up this story in a satisfying way. In other words, I think they failed to deliver an ending that lived up to the great comedy that had come before. Toward the end of the story (actually right after the therapy scene), the movie took a disappointing turn. Before this scene, it was a fun, clever, and ridiculously funny horror-themed movie. After this scene it turned into a typical action movie, with a one-dimensional antagonist, and a very typical ending. I loved everything about the movie leading up to this point, but I think the filmmakers could have delivered a much stronger ending.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (87pts)

When scrolling through Netflix to find something to watch, my wife and I saw this movie. We thought it could be an average movie to pass the time and decided to watch it only if we could not find anything better to watch. We did not find anything better, and I am glad that we did not, because this movie was a blast.

I was expecting and hoping for a moderately entertaining movie to pass the time. What I got was a clever, hilariously funny, horror-themed movie. The ending was a bit of a let-down, and the antagonist was annoyingly one-dimensional, but there was a lot to like about this movie. I liked the friendship between Tucker and Dale, I liked the awkward infatuation that Dale had toward Allison (which effectively provided plenty of comedy during the slower scenes), and the premise made for a ton of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments. This movie did not look like much when scrolling through Netflix, but I had a really great time watching it.