"Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil" Spends An Entire Movie On the Same Joke

By Sean Burns
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Sep. 29, 2011

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Grade: C-

Eighty minutes is a long time to spend with one joke.  

This splattery horror send-up by director Eli Craig stars Firefly’s Alan Tudyk and the suddenly ubiquitous Tyler Labine as a couple of accident-prone backwoods bumpkins mistaken for serial killers by preppie college campers. The two gentle-spirited hayseeds want only to spend their weekend repairing a dilapidated shack inherited by Tudyk’s beer-swilling Tucker, but in contrived, Three's Company fashion, the nubile twenty-something city-folk misinterpret every friendly gesture as a psychotic overture.    

It starts one night when Tucker and Dale are just trying to go fishing, inadvertently stumbling upon some skinny dippers and rescuing gorgeous young Ally (30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden) from drowning. Naturally these damn kids assume our heroes are kidnapping her, a misassumption that only gets worse after Tucker chainsaws into a bee’s nest and ends up running through the woods, shrieking and waving the powertool around like Leatherface.  

Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Time and again our student’s pop-culture-inspired prejudice against hillbillies leads to a mildly amusing, redundant moment in which our kindly heroes appear deranged. Worse, the campers have a bad habit of accidentally getting themselves killed in grisly pratfalls—like tripping and falling head first into a wood-chipper, for example.    

There are a few appealing performances here. Tudyk, something of an icon in sci-fi circles, has an amusing deadpan when it comes to awful injuries, pouring cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon onto his wounds as if the beer contained mystical healing powers. Labine, who delivered one of the summer’s most unbearable turns as a poor man’s Jack Black in the already justly forgotten A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, is surprisingly endearing. His sweet dim-bulb Dale stumbles into a tentative courtship with the appealing bombshell Bowden, a development the actors make more believable than it has any right to be. The tweaking of Red State-phobic redneck stereotypes is welcome, particularly after suffering through Rod Lurie’s asinine Straw Dogs remake a couple weeks ago.  But Craig keeps circling back to the same gruesome gags with rapidly diminishing returns.  

Playing like a promising short film dragged kicking and screaming out to feature length, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil beats a dead horse all the way to the glue factory. 

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1. Anonymous said... on Oct 20, 2015 at 05:27PM

“This review is amazingly stupid. The movie is completely hilarious and you purposefully gave incorrect information, so i will just call it a lie. In the movie the guy doesnt just 'trip headfirst into a woodchipper'. That is the lie you made to make the audience that hasnt seen the movie think it sounds stupid. Instead, the kid was charging after tucker while he was chipping wood. Tucker reaches for another piece of wood and the kid misses him and instead lands in the chipper.
Besides the little lie this random guy sean made up, the movie also isnt a repeat of the same joke.
There are many different jokes made with different types such as one about colledge kids commiting suicide all over his yard, what happens when you talk to a girl, and even the last part at the bowling alley.
The only thing that repeats is the fact that saun burns lies.”


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