If you think you know what to expect from a Zac Efron movie, you haven’t been keeping up with his career. His film THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER does a great job helping to reorient viewers with the thoughtful work Efron is doing after a turning point in his career. Spotting a Zac Efron movie with “Beer Run” in the title, I was a bit worried that it was going to be a project he did to help his bank account at the expense of his growing credibility, but I was happily mistaken.
Over the past two years, I have enjoyed seeing Zac Efron put his time and energy into projects with substance. His documentary series DOWN TO EARTH WITH ZAC EFRON brought much deserved attention to a variety of issues, many of which involving environmental issues worldwide. It totally changed my perspective on him as a person, having never previously been interested in his superficial characters in most of his roles over the past two decades. There were roles along the way that he got some praise for, but until I had seen DOWN TO EARTH, I wasn’t interested in seeing what he had to offer as a performer.
Set during the Vietnam War, THE GREATEST BEER RUN is based on a true story about a man who makes an eye-opening trip to the war zone. His goal is to show his friends who are “in country” that the neighborhood still supports, doing so by bringing a dufflebag full of beer with him to distribute to his friends and their fellow soldiers. What he experiences is that the information reported back home by the news and politicians doesn’t line up with what’s actually going on.
There may have been a few laughs along the way, but BEER RUN is far more of a drama than a comedy, and a well-produced one at that. Though I don’t expect it to get nominated come awards season, the story was strong and there were some good performances. Bill Murray and Russell Crowe play supporting roles that provide solid voices to characters who help humanize the perspectives that influence the lead’s view along the journey.
For those of us who weren’t alive during the Vietnam War, it’s a good look at what was going on during that time – on both sides of the world. It’s not perfect, probably won’t get nominated for any awards, but it’s far from the vapid comedy some might expect from a Zac Efron movie with “Beer Run” in the title. It’s absolutely worth checking out.
My rating: 84 out of 100
I don’t typically do this, but here’s a link to an article and video from People Magazine about Zac Efron and the man whom he portrayed in the film, Chickie Donohue.