Strange Brew on DVD
The McKenzie Brothers brought an extra fifteen minutes of fame to
their talented creators, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas.
Originally thought up as parody Canadian content filler for their
SCTV series, which wasnt deemed Canuck enough by the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation on which it originally aired, it featured the two
brothers Bob and Doug as a couple of dimwitted, beer-addled hosers who were the
stereotype of practically everything Canadian other than the intellectual class
who pride themselves on NOT being like the McKenzies; the class of people who
demanded such Canadian filler in the first place.
The skit became so popular it was spun off into this movie. And
while they should really have made an SCTV movie instead of a McKenzie Brothers
one, there are enough laughs here to make beer come out of your nose.
So here we have Strange Brew, in which the
toque-wearing, beer-swigging "Great White North" hosers attempt to scam a
free case of beer from Elsinore brewery turns into an adventure in which they
have to save the world (or at least Southern Ontario) from a mad
scientist/Brewmeister (Max von Sydow) who dreams of world domination.
The plot is inspired by Hamlet, hence Elsinore beer
though there isnt much of the Bard left in the final screenplay. Bob and
Doug bumble their way through their misadventure, aided by the daughter of
Elsinores murdered boss and an ex hockey player, causing havoc in their
way much in the same way that Cheech and Chong or, much earlier, Abbott and
Costello did in their movies.
Subtle it aint, but thats okay. The McKenzie
brothers charm is their innocent (some might say brain dead) mien and
their pursuit of things Canadian like hockey and, more important, beer. Oh,
yeah, there are doughnuts, too.
Its always tough to extend a short TV comedy skit into a
full length movie, especially here since the McKenzie Brothers are basically a
one joke bit, but writer/director/stars Moranis and Thomas have pulled it off.
The movie never drags and though youll never be intellectually
challenged, you may laugh a time or two.
Moranis has had a pretty good career in other movies, usually as a
nerdy character (unfortunately, because SCTV fans know he has an excellent
range), but Thomas never really got his due. He was one of the best things
about SCTV and is the only person this reviewer has ever seen do an impression
of Bob Hope - and he did it beautifully.
The DVDs pretty good, arguably better than this minor comedy
actually deserves. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, the
picture is grainy in places but overall is more than acceptable. Colors, sorry,
colours, are bright and clean - possibly a tribute to the films original
hoserama technology presentation.
Audio is Dolby Digital stereo and its unremarkable, though
You even get extras! First, theres the SCTV skit that
inspired the movie - and does it in about 2.5 minutes, plus theres a
trailer for the all new animated adventures of Bob and Doug
McKenzie. This appears to be introducing a new TV series that, if its of
the quality of the trailer, will probably last for an episode or two.
You also get cast/crew highlights and the theatrical trailer.
Strange Brew, from Warner Home Video
90 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital
Starring Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Paul Dooley, Max Von Sydow
Produced by Louis M. Silverstein
Written by Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas & Steve De Jarnatt, Directed
by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis
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