The Greatest Beer Run Ever Review
Zac Efron Heads To Vietnam, During The War, To Deliver Beer
Chickie Donohue is a native of New York, that being in USA. He works on ships and spends the time when he’s not on ships drinking in his favourite bar with his friends, most of them, some are away, fighting in Vietnam.
Chickie, played by Zac Efron (“ Scoob!”, “ The Beach Bum”), is caught between the two worlds back. On the one hand he and his friends are all about supporting the troops whilst their fighting, in particular they go along with bar owner The Colonel, Bill Murray (“ Ghostbusters: Afterlife”, “ On the Rocks “), who thinks what the press is reporting is wrong and un-American.
On the other hand Chickie’s sister Christine, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis (“The Letter for the King (TV)”, La Cha Cha”), is part of a protest in a local park, against the war, lighting candles for the fallen.
It comes up time and time again that Chickie isn’t doing anything to support the troops, sitting in a bar and drinking doesn’t count apparently. It’s whilst in this bar that he comes up with his hair-brain scheme, he’ll find a boat that’s going to Vietnam, join it, and take those he knows a beer, a thanks. Whilst his friends don’t think he’ll go through with it, this just pushes him into actually doing it.
Arriving in Vietnam he immediately finds his first friend who’s stationed near the dock. He has a beer with him and his comrades and is only briefly interrupted by their Sarg who, on spotting a civilian, steps out, quietly. The others think that Sarg thinks Chickie is CIA and this gives Chickie an idea, why not let people think that?
So, he does. With a barely a question raised, Chickie travels across Vietnam, never actually saying he’s CIA, never actually denying it either and, even when he tries, the people in the army don’t believe him anyway.
Even when he arrives on the front-line and a sergeant discovers he’s not CIA and just a civilian, they still don’t do anything. Just hand him over to his friend, he’s your responsibility. This leaves Chickie on the front-line, directly in the line of fire.
Throughout his excursion across Vietnam Chickie witnesses all sorts of things, some of which most people involved in the war probably never saw, some of which he shouldn’t have seen, such as an actual CIA man interrogating someone in a helicopter…
If all of this sounds unbelievable well it isn’t, for the whole story is based on the real-life story of Chickie Donohue who actually took his friends some beers in Vietnam.
The story is brought to AppleTV+ by way of director Peter Farrelly (“Me, Myself & Irene”, “Shallow Hal”) from a script by Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie (“Green Book”, “Two Tickets to Paradise”) and Pete Jones (“The Now (TV)”, “Hall Pass”).
The movie sees a definite split down the middle with the first half, being set in New York in the sixties, all very pro-war, America’s doing great, everyone who protests is wrong and USA is winning. There are some hints throughout that things aren’t perhaps going all that well, but are largely ignored by Chickie and his friends.
Whilst in Vietnam though is when the movie changes, along with Chickie’s actual views (as they did in real life too). He sees things for himself, but then hears what the army are actually reporting, usually something completely different. In particular his conversations with Arthur Coates, Russell Crowe (“Thor: Love and Thunder”, “ True History of the Kelly Gang “), a war reporter in the region, opens his eyes and begins changing his views.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever is an unbelievable story, Farrelly and co deliver some dark comedy alongside some gut-punching poignant moments too. It’s well directed and well performed, I did keep wondering throughout why Efron looked like he’d just done a gym session prior to each scene, but otherwise everyone performs admirably.
That it’s all true just adds to the utterly bonkers nature of The Greatest Beer Run Ever, you’ll be amazed at just what Chickie managed to do.
Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com.