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not what it looks like...

R

Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Phillip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons

Dale:  I shoulda known…if a guy like me tried to talk to a girl like you…somebody’d end up dead.

Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) have just purchased their dream summer-home (a dilapidated cabin in the woods) and have plans to fix it up.  Meanwhile, a group of easily spooked college kids are camping nearby.  One of the kids, Allison (Bowden), is injured and then rescued by Tucker and Dale.  Unfortunately, this rescue is mistaken for a kidnapping by Allison’s friends.  Now they’re out to get their friend back…and possibly kill Tucker and Dale in the process.

So maybe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was all just a big misunderstanding…

In case you couldn’t tell from the plot description, this is a comedy.  A dark comedy, but a comedy nonetheless.

There are a few great things about this movie.  First of all, Tudyk and Labine are perfect as a couple of rednecks who don’t have a violent bone in their body yet still manage to seem a little creepy.  They’re very believable as friends, and that is essential to the story, and comedy, working.

The other great thing is the basic idea.  So many movies feature a bunch of kids in the woods being terrorized by scary, backwoods rednecks.  Not many of them end up having the rednecks cowering in fear from the college kids.  The circumstances that lead to the kids thinking Tucker and Dale are psycho killers are well constructed, particularly a scene involving a chainsaw and bees.  That whole build up is definitely the best, and funniest, part of the movie.

Not as great is the final act.  Having one of the kids be a bit psycho himself just didn’t work for me, and the ending becomes pretty standard with a chase and violence and explosions.  There’s still some funny stuff in there, but I wish they’d gone with more moments like the scene where they all sit down around a table and try to explain their own sides of the events that have taken place.  That is an original and funny moment, but then it’s followed by that less inspired ending.

Still, it’s worth watching for Tudyk and Labine, plus Katrina Bowden proves that she’s more than just the ditzy blond from 30 Rock.  She brings a certain believability to her role as well.

It’s not a home run, but if you like movies in the Shaun of the Dead realm, you’ll probably find some enjoyment in this one too.  Just be prepared for a few disgusting scenes.  I mean, any time there’s a wood chipper in a movie, you know what’s coming…

Don’t judge a book by it’s sweaty, creepy, un-bathed cover.

10 – 2 for that final act that just didn’t work for me – .8 because some of the comedy attempts didn’t work so well = 7.2