The Greatest Beer Run Ever review – Fails to balance competing tones

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Zac Efron plays merchant seaman John “Chickie” Donohue who makes a brash, booze-fuelled promise while drinking in a New York bar.

To show his support for the Vietnam war, he vows to stuff a bag with “American beer”, hop on the next supply ship to Saigon, track down the servicemen from his neighbourhood and crack open a few comforting cans.

After the news of this noble gesture spreads around the soldiers’ worried parents, Chickie then does not have the heart to back out.

His journey sees him briefly team up with Russell Crowe’s photojournalist, witness atrocities and question the foundations of his unthinking patriotism.

There is a smattering of funny lines but, this time, Farrelly fails to tie together the competing tones of humour and the horror of war, or to add fresh perspectives to the conflict.

Donohue, as everyone keeps saying, is a very unusual human being but Efron never gets beyond his goofy charm.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever is streaming on Apple TV+ and in cinemas now (certificate PG).

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