Apple TV+ is really kicking things up a notch with their original film lineup. Their latest, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, is a simple yet engaging adventure movie. Based on a true story, the Zac Efron starring film has a very outrageous premise, told through a simplistic lens. Sometimes to the detriment of the messages, it’s trying to convey. But it’s very immersive as you totally buy into the protagonist’s motivations. Keep reading for this non-spoiler The Greatest Beer Run review.
What Is The Greatest Beer Run Ever, About?
The Greatest Beer Run Ever comes from a completely true story. This is important, given that the premise feels very much like a work of fiction. In 1960s New York, a group of friends gets news of their neighborhood friends dying in the Vietnam War. Frustrated at not being able to help or contribute to their efforts, one of those friends decides to do something about it. Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron) chooses to embark on a mission to find his neighborhood friends in Vietnam, and bring them beer from their local bar, to show everyone’s support and appreciation of their efforts at war.
The movie intercuts this simple idea with larger discussions of the war in Vietnam. Many characters throughout the movie discuss the ethics, morality, and motivations behind this war. And it’s all done from the perspective of Chickie, as he goes on this mission, without fully understanding the weight of his plans. Chickie starts off very supportive of the war effort, getting into fights with people who contradict or question it.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever works because of its main character played by Efron. Chickie is incredibly simple, patriotic, and completely buys into America’s reasons for being in Vietnam. His outlook on life is very idealistic, and in many ways, naive. So when he goes to Vietnam, in this childish quest to show his support to his friends by bringing them beer, he has no idea what he’s getting into.
Confronting the realities of war, politics, and the plight of his friends is his journey through the story. Screenwriters Brian Hayes Currie, Pete Jones, and director Peter Farrelly do a great job of infusing the story with a lot of humor and heart. While Chickie’s childish perception of war is laughable, there are moments when his realizations are genuinely heartfelt and heartbreaking. Chickie is so clueless in his understanding, that even when faced with reality, he still struggles to completely grasp what’s happening around him. Even when he’s running for his life through a barrage of bullets in No Man’s Land.
Farrelly’s direction also keeps the focus of the story on Chickie and shows this war from his perspective. A lesser director might take the opportunity to show more of the cinematic action of the war. But Farrelly prioritizes the audience’s experience of this war through Chickie’s eyes, which has more impact. And allows him to tell a more effective story.
One of my complaints about The Greatest Beer Run Ever is its overall theme of war. Especially, the Vietnam war. There are times when the movie gets kind of heavy-handed with its anti-war message. There are long and drawn-out discussions that basically just equate to war = wrong. Even the character played by Russell Crowe has a bit of an on-the-nose dialogue at the end about how all war is mass murder. But at the same time, the very real-world issues behind the Vietnam War feels glossed over. The movie is almost like a PSA where the audience is meant to ‘learn’ from the mistakes of America during that time. Through Chickie’s eyes.
But one can almost excuse this obviousness due to how Chickie is. Given his naivety about the whole situation, it’s like he has to have everything spoon-fed to him. The complexities of imperialism and a nation’s politics is something he struggles with, so it has to be spelled out for him. Based on that, I can kind of forgive these more, clunky elements of the screenplay.
Movie Review Conclusion
The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a surprisingly well-done movie about the best of intentions. About how supporting ones you care about means looking at the larger picture. Efron is wonderfully vulnerable and sweet, without becoming a Forrest Gump-like caricature. The supporting cast (that includes Bill Murray, for some reason) is excellent in moving the story forward and motivating Chickie’s actions that much more. While it’s not too deep or meaningful, The Greatest Beer Run Ever is still a great one-time watch.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever is now streaming on Apple TV+.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever Review: Unexpectedly Good
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8/108/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 6/106/10
- Setting/Theme - 7/107/10
- Watchability - 8/108/10
- Rewatchability - 6/106/10
User Review( votes)
The Greatest Beer Run Ever review discusses how it’s a one-time watch that over simplifies the Vietnam War from the eyes of a man-child.