Paul Dundon’s Weblog


A little cheese and a little whine

Film Log: Tucker and Dale versus Evil

Details here.

The first gag in this film comes about ten minutes in when the hapless Dale tries to chat up a college girl by approaching her carrying a scythe (because he happens to be holding it) and wearing a forced smile (because he’s nervous) which she and her friends take to be a threatening redneck carrying a lethal weapon and grinning like a maniac. Unfortunately, this is also, in essence, the second gag, the third gag, and pretty much every subsequent gag, with the set-up for each more predictable than the last. A film based on this sort of misinterpretation could say some interesting things about the effect of fear and prejudice, but this one is so pre-occupied with the technical problems of setting up the next howler that it never gets to do anything else. Even granted this basic limitation, there is no real sense of escalation; each gag feels more-or-less like an isolated set piece.

This is a pity, because there are quite a lot of good ideas elsewhere in the film: the college jock anti-hero, the psychology student trying to diffuse a lethal situation with a couple’s therapy session, the characters of Dale and Tucker themselves, and a handful of other details that could have made this film a real delight rather than what feels like an intellectual exercise.


Filed under: Film + TV

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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