Whatever the hot-button issue of the day is, we all have our opinions and we’re all convinced we are right. Most of us enjoy the comfort of never having to look beyond the black and white.
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is about what happens when you find yourself with the full spectrum of colors staring you right in the face and having to deal with the fact that everything is much more complicated and complex than it appears.
First and foremost, this is an incredible true story of a regular guy who snuck into Vietnam at the height of the war to hand-deliver a beer to his buddies.
Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron) is a fun-loving, working-class stiff from New York City who spends most of his time on shore leave from the Merchant Marine carousing with his buddies at a bar run by WWII veteran, The Colonel (Bill Murray).
Angered by anti-war protests and bad press coming out of Vietnam, drunk talk in the bar turns to how great it would be to give a beer to every guy from the neighborhood serving in the war as a sign of their gratitude.
Fueled by blind patriotism and bourbon, Chickie declares that he will hop a supply ship to Vietnam and hand-deliver the beers himself.
Armed with a duffel bag full of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a goofy mixture of charm and confidence, Chickie steps off the boat in Vietnam with no plan other than to find his friends and give them a beer.
As further proof that you can get away with pretty much anything as long as you act like you know what you are doing, Chickie is able to travel around an active war zone and (to the shock of pretty much everyone) complete his mission.
But while Chickie definitely has more heart than brains, he quickly discovers that the horrors of war were more than he bargained for and that the longer he stays in Vietnam, the harder it becomes to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
His worldview is further challenged when he meets up with Coates (Russell Crowe), a jaded war correspondent who admires Chickie’s gesture but bristles at his naiveté.
Director Peter Farrelly (in his first film since Best Picture Winner “Green Book”), does a good job of showing Chickie’s journey from a loudmouth, blowhard to contentious sympathizer and Efron is up to the task in making that journey believable.
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” proves that it’s one thing to sit around in a bar (or on social media) and lecture on world affairs, and quite another to go out, get your hands dirty and try to make a difference. The latter is certainly a nobler path, even if you don’t plan things out very well.
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is rated R for language and some war violence.