This week’s review features one half of this column’s namesake, the old SCTV sketch comedy featuring two stereotypical hosers. I have to be careful what I say here; because while Bob and Doug Mckenzie were a big part of my childhood, my exposure to them was more from their top selling album The Great White North, and their feature film Strange Brew, than it was from SCTV where many of the older viewers might remember them. So if I get something factually wrong, it’s due to ignorance and not intent.
The two goofballs represent a portion of Canadian culture, not the whole thing. Much the same way that a film like Joe Dirt satires only a portion of American culture, except the McKenzie brothers are a lot funnier. They wear woolen toques, talk in a lazy vernacular with interspersed “eh’s” and “Take off’s,” and for the most part make every effort not to stray from the comfy couch that occupied the space in front of the SCTV screening. Bob, played by Rick Moranis (Who you might remember from the Honey, I shrunk the Kids series,) is more of the leading man, and his brother Doug, played by Dave Thomas, is a bit less memorable.
Strange Brew is unlike the old SCTV skit in that it actually seems to carry a plot, at least to the best of its ability. The brothers get a job at a brewery in order to get free beer (That’s right, Family Guy was not the first to come up with that idea, not by a long shot). The owners of the brewery, as it turns out, have a plan to take over the world by putting a drug into the beer. The brothers slowly piece together the puzzle somewhat unwittingly.
The plot is allegedly based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, though it is so well hidden by the extreme lack of class that it is almost completely unrecognizable. Strange Brew isn’t going to be something most people enjoy; it’s more or less a low-brow 70’s and 80’s Canadian crowd pleaser, but depending on your sense of humor (And level of inebriation) you should be able to get through it with some laughs. I admit, I was a lot fonder of the material as a young kid, but certain elements (Like the brothers trying to get free beer by getting a mouse into a beer bottle) still haven’t lost their charm. Give it a watch in a late evening, early morning, or run through some of their old skits. Especially you Americans with a real need to get cultured! (Hosers)