Geoff and I tend to sit in the same general proximity when we both attend the same screening. I can hear his laugh, and he can (probably) hear the scribbling of my pen. This sound exchange certainly happened with our viewing of "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil," which left me almost laughless while Geoff was strangely hootin' and hollerin' throughout the whole thing. For me, I was left greatly disappointed, and exhausted from being forced to sit through the same joke for an entire movie.


Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine play Tucker and Dale, two ditzy rednecks who are just looking to have a quiet time in their "vacation home" (a crappy looking cabin that needs a bulldozer, not TLC). Ruining their time are a group of college students, who, convinced by a campfire story and their general lack of insight to working class culture, think that Tucker and Dale are essentially evil.


The college kids go into attack mode when they think their friend Allison (Katrina Bowden) is kidnapped by the two men, (when really they were saving her from drowning after falling off a rock and hitting her head).

They attack Tucker and Dale but their attempts are in vain – they hurt themselves more than hit their targets, leading Tucker and Dale to believe they are under attack by a group of college kids who have signed a suicide pact.


The premise is ridiculous and features good parody. Finally, a movie that doesn't make fun of rednecks, but pokes fun at naive kids who watch too many slasher movies. This all could have made for a movie better than "Tucker and Dale."


In so many ways, characters all say, "This has been a huge misunderstanding". Yes, yes it has been indeed. A whole movie of a misunderstanding.


This movie doesn't take its humor beyond grotesque, anticipated death scenes or the repeated concept that everything is not what it looks like. The shock laughs of "Tucker and Dale" fall flat when you see them coming seconds away.

My first laugh in "Tucker and Dale" came from a line that Dale says, summing up the horrific events. He says, "I always knew that if a guy like me talked to a girl like you, someone would end up dead." It's one of the only unexpected lines in a script that gave itself away a long time ago before this line. It's also a simply very funny explanation for such chaos.


My second laugh during "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil" came in a much smaller occurrence, in a moment that could easily be forgotten by others, especially considering how subtle it is compared to the movie's larger target laughs. It's the second and only thing that caught me off guard by the movie.


When Dale crashes his truck into a tree while trying to escape with Allison, he is left disoriented, with Allison snatched from the truck. Dale addresses his dog, Jangers, and asks where they could have gone. Pan over to Jangers, and the dog is already facing in the direction of Allison's path.


I can’t explain it. But a guffaw shot out of my stomach during this moment.


The entire story of "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil" is based around misunderstanding, and so are the "jokes" that the movie fills itself with. Eventually everything starts to become old hat, with the concept of communication between the two "killer" camps becoming frustratingly more and more naught.


It's relieving, slightly, when the movie finally just admits that one of the kids is a bonafide psychopath, and that there’s no misunderstanding about that.


"Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil" is a comedy that kills its potential to surprise by harping on one note. Needless to say, I'm surprised I even laughed twice.   -- NICK ALLEN, is also a film critic for The Scorecard Review and member of Chicago Film Critics Association