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Beer Muscles /

Not Rated

Starring: Bill Booker, Tom Davison, Jesse Dunstan, Carmen Jessee, Griffin Marks, Matt McGuire, Mark Zimmerman

Directed by: Griffin Marks

Produced by: Griffin Marks
Written by:
Griffin Marks
Distributor: Balls Productions


     Griffin Marks, the ingenious filmmaker behind the low-budget motion picture, Beer Muscles, is a riot. In the film, he shows that he has a flowing sense of writing comedy, always sustaining enough jokes that will tickle his audiences in each scene to overpower the stinkers. His sense of humor is comprised of a beautiful variety of subjects. In Marksí script, one will find gutsy satire and one-liners, alongside a lot of loveably stupid gags. He also shines, acting in the film as M. Pinot Grigio, a beer-hating winery owner, who plans to lead the extinction of the cheaper, less-sophisticated form of alcohol. Marks had me laughing, and in this type of micro-budget, independent feature, thatís usually all that matters.

     With that said, I think he should quit making movies and try standup comedy, instead. As a director, Marks fails, miserably. At times in Beer Muscles, I felt like I was watching some type of pornography. As Mr. Grigio joked about sex with his employee, and the half-techno-half-elevator-music-style soundtrack reached its crescendo, I seriously thought that the two would soon take off their clothes and invite a group of girls into the room. Tonally, Beer Muscles crashes and burns; every frame of it is devoid of a sense of feeling or atmosphere. Marksí tremendous bits of other work are all put to shame in the execution that is certainly abysmal and almost insufferable.

     I must be joking, right? Why does a movie about beer need artistry? Because all filmsí success is reliant upon their awareness of their intentions. They exhibit such primarily through the mood that a director creates.

     Later on in Beer Muscles, the bartending protagonist, Bob Drummond (Bill Booker) drinks a magical formula of his favorite beverage, which makes him strong, giving him the power to defeat the evil, grape-infested mind of the nerdy Gigio. Instead of Marks making the feeling of Bobís adventures of revenge ridiculously triumphant, he turns them into a simple showcase of straightforward comedy. Thereís nothing incredibly bad about this bland technique, but it feels generic, and certainly will not resonate with many viewers.

     Marks definitely isnít the only one who should be blamed for the ultimate failure of Beer Muscles, though. He is, after all, the motion pictureís greatest asset, even if his obvious mistakes arenít exactly ignorable. For the most part, the supporting cast behind him is awful. In the leading role, Bill Booker is flat out terrible. Being the beer-loving idiot that Bob is, it was necessary for the actor to bring a certain amount of sympathy to the character. Instead, he plays the stereotypical underdog of a jackass, and this will result in the audience not caring about the outcome of the plot. I canít say much for Matt McGuire or Carmen Jessee in their roles, either. But, they seem to be more of miscasts than bad performers (just because the options for cast-members were understandably limited does not excuse this). At least Mark Zimmerman is hysterical as Chet Toodles, M. Pinotís brother, who has been condemned to hard work.

     Beer Muscles doesnít pretend to be anything short of a dumb, little movie, and I suppose thatís honorable. But, its writer/director/actor/editor/producerís potential to make something fantastic kept me longing for much more than it turned out to be. Is the film worth seeing? Probably not, but it does have some ambitious elements that are rather amusing to watch. However, crude humor doesnít always come off as only good fun when there isnít the proper tone or performances backing it. I can respect whatever hysterical elements there may be in Beer Muscles, but I cannot go as far as recommending it. Maybe next time, Griff.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (8.11.2004)

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