Tucker and Dale vs Evil Directed by: Eli Craig Cast: Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden Running Time: 1 hr 29 mins Rating: R Release Date: October 7, 2011
PLOT: Hillbillies Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) are hunted by fatally clumsy college students who think they're attacking murderous beings of the woods. Tucker and Dale think they're being attacked by college kids who have signed a suicide pact.
WHO'S IT FOR? College kids who have seen too many slasher movies are amusing villains for Tucker and Dale, and are also the targeted audience. I can imagine this will get a lot of replay in late night college dorms for a couple solid years.
The premise is ridiculous and features good parody. Finally, a movie that doesn’t make fun of rednecks, but pokes fun at naïve kids who watch too many slasher movies. This all could have made for a movie better than “Tucker and Dale.”
In so many ways, characters all say, “This has been a huge misunderstanding.” Yes, yes it has been indeed. A whole movie of a simple misunderstanding. This movie doesn’t take its humor beyond grotesque, anticipated death scenes or the repeated concept that everything is not what it looks like. The shock laughs of Tucker and Dale fall flat when you see them coming seconds away.
My first laugh in Tucker and Dale came from a line that Dale says, summing up the horrific events. He says, “I always knew that if a guy like me talked to a girl like you, someone would end up dead.” It’s one of the only unexpected lines in a script that gave itself away a long time ago before this line. It’s also a simply very funny explanation for such chaos.
My second laugh during Tucker and Dale vs Evil came in a much smaller occurrence, in a moment that could easily be forgotten by others, especially considering how subtle it is compared to the movie’s larger target laughs. It’s the second and only thing that caught me off guard by the movie. When Dale crashes his truck into a tree while trying to escape with Allison, he is left disoriented, with Allison snatched from the truck. Dale addresses his dog, Jangers, and asks where they could have gone. Pan over to Jangers, and the dog is already facing in the direction of Allison’s path.
I can’t explain it. But a guffaw shot out of my stomach during this moment.
The entire story of Tucker and Dale vs Evil is based around misunderstanding, and so are the “jokes” that the movie fills itself with. Eventually everything starts to become old hat, with the concept of communication between the two “killer” camps becoming frustratingly more and more naught. It’s relieving, slightly, when the movie finally just admits that one of the kids is a bonafide psychopath, and that there’s no misunderstanding about that.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a comedy that kills its potential to surprise by harping on one note. Needless to say, I’m surprised I even laughed twice.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10