By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
When you think of Mads Mikkelsen, who do you picture? Hannibal Lecter? Le Chiffre? One Eye? Well, thanks to Men & Chicken, you can add one more spine-chilling visage to that list.
Here, Mikkelsen is just one of a quintet of barbaric, cleft-lipped monstrosities, first the hapless university professor brother (David Dencik) he learns is only half-so, then three more on the backwater island of Ork, living in a run down asylum and serving their mad geneticist unseen contrarian father, “the Sausage of Death”, so named because every woman he father a child on disappeared under mysterious circumstances. What is the truth behind their sordid family history, and why are they all so fucked in the head?
It’s perhaps best to view Men & Chicken as a viciously skewed Five Stooges, with Dencik as relatively sane Larry, Soren Malling (another respected Danish thesp) as deranged Larry, Mikkelsen as full Id Moe, Nicolas Bro as philosophizing, cheese-loving Curly, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas as doglike, sweetly retarded Curly. Maybe one of them is Shemp, whatever. Anyway, each are distinct comic creations, although equally prone to Stooge-like blunt force trauma, and each actor is fully committed to the insanity.
Man, this flick is hard to describe… Dogtooth meets Napoleon Dynamite meets The Hangover Part III? Like Todd Phillips at his worst extremes, Anders Thomas Jensen delivers a film that is more than violent and misanthropic- it’s just plain mean-spirited, reveling in its nastiness.
Forget the constant juvenile sex “jokes” which go all the way to bestiality and back again. The denouement of the big mystery and the film is is deeply, imaginatively disturbed, and the fact the film tries to end on a golden-hued note of “family is family no matter what” is probably the most awfully cracked part of all.
Men & Chicken‘s cardinal sin, though, is one that Phillips has mostly been able to avoid- it’s not really funny.
Now, I enjoy a stuffed bird bludgeoning as much as the next guy, but many “jokes”, like Mikkelsen’s serial masturbation, wear thin immediately yet go on ad infinitum. Shoot, before long you forget that’s Mikkelsen at all, which is certainly what he was going for, and yet is no compliment.
Men & Chicken is uncategorizable- a demented, sometimes funny, always fucked up vision of a family tree that is more rot than wood.
Men & Chicken (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for family resemblances
Take a Drink: for beatings
Take a Drink: whenever Mikkelsen masturbates
Take a Drink: for gagging
Take a Drink: for procreation symbols & metaphors
Do a Shot: for crimes against nature