I'd heard conflicting stories about Toby Keith's movie, Beer For My Horses. I first heard that he was making the movie years ago, then I heard he'd dropped the project in favor of a romantic comedy, then I recently saw the movie on Netflix and decided I didn't hate myself enough, so I went ahead and watched it. The best way I can describe the movie is this: imagine if, when you were ten years old, a Hollywood producer approached you and asked you to write the script for a badass action movie. Chances are you'd give them Beer for My Horses.
Toby Keith is Sheriff's Deputy Rack and yes, you read that right. He's a no nonsense type and a natural leader, otherwise known as clichéd action hero characterization number 2. (Number 1 is grizzled ex-Marine.) He's accompanied on his journey to rescue his kidnapped sweetheart by the bumbling comic relief Deputy Lonnie (played by Rodney Carrington) and Skunk, a silent but hard-as-nails deputy who carries two uzis instead of a service revolver and uses a bow because he was raised by Native Americans (played by Ted Nugent...the character I mean, not the Native Americans). There are a few characters in this movie not played by Toby Keith's musician friends, but there are none that aren't total clichés.
As for the humor in the movie -and there's a lot of pathetic attempts at it- there are some chuckle-worthy bits that could've been genuinely funny with just a few more rewrites, like Toby's reaction upon hearing his friend's giant pickup truck took 75 dollars to fill up with gas or the running gag about his lawnmower in the beginning of the movie (long and not that interesting story). Then there's bits that could have been at least passable had they not been handled so ineptly, like the awkwardly forced exposition about Skunk's Native American upbringing. (Honestly, any of the bits involving Skunk could qualify here.) Unfortunately, most of the "humor" results in downright cringe-inducing scenes that should have been cut completely, such as Lonnie singing with a bunch of thugs in a rest stop bathroom in a scene that goes on way too long.
To his credit, Toby Keith's politics take a backseat to the movie. To his shame, being a platform for Toby's jingoistic rhetoric would have at least justified the movie's existence slightly. As it is, Beer For My Horses is nothing more than a shallow, formulaic film that spends too much time wallowing in clichés and amateurish attempts at badass to bring anything worthwhile to the table, new or otherwise.
Unfortunately, I can't give this movie a rating as I'm not sure it qualifies as a movie so much as video-taped evidence that country music stars can't act. Fortunately, my imaginary friend was on hand to remind me that this movie is a derivative pile that would need about three more rewrites just to qualify as mediocre.
KR Rating: BAD