1. "Tucker & Dale Versus Evil" has one joke, and it's an obvious one it doesn't dig into very much, which doesn't stop it from beating it into the ground for an hour and a half. So you know how in horror movies, a bunch of college students are terrorized by redneck inbred folk who torture and murder them for their big-city ways? Wait, you don't know this? Well, it's a thing, apparently, if you're really into horror movies, as the makers of "Tucker & Dale Versus Evil" apparently are. Well, in this movie, it turns out that the rednecks are really nice guys, and the college students are jerks, and, uh, yeah, that's kind of it.
2. Tucker and Dale are two good ol' boy pals. Tucker is a charmer with the ladies -- though we don't actually see him charming any ladies -- and Dale is heavy and shy and sweet and also a secret genius, in a promising joke the movie never delves much into. Because they live in a "Three's Company" episode, everything they do is seen by the college students as psycho-murder-y, including when they save the sweet gorgeous college girl (Katrina Bowden, of "30 Rock") from drowning and then play trivia games with her. You might think playing trivia games with someone would be extremely difficult to see as murder-y, but hey, that's the conceit.
3. I wasn't kidding about "Three's Company" before: Pretty much every scene from "Tucker & Dale Versus Evil" involves some sort of wacky misunderstanding, the idiot plot in microcosm, a simple miscommunication that would be easily resolved if someone just took a deep breath and said, "OK, wait, so maybe you're not trying to kill me?" The mistakes keep leading to gruesome deaths for many of our main characters, but the movie's in on the joke, making sure their deaths are cartoonishly slapstick. The movie's not quite funny enough to have as much fun with the gore as it should, but it keeps moving, and it has some charming actors who look grateful to get to play the leads for once.
4. Tyler Labine is an actor I enjoyed on the short-lived TV show "Reaper" but has been stuck in Crazy Fat Guy mode in the screen ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes," "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy"). He has a disarming sincerity here, though, as a hick who isn't is as dumb as he looks and really just wants a girl to talk to him, sometimes. (It's a surprise to find yourself cheering for him during the film's climax.) Alan Tudyk is a television actor with legit chops -- he gives one of the many terrific performances in "Beautiful Boy" -- and even though he doesn't have much to do than be a reaction shot, he invests himself enough in the surroundings to make it clear he's not bored. The college students are interchangeable, save for the token black guy, who is played by the Muslim schoolteacher in TV's "The Killing," serving only to remind me of how much I hated that show. And Katrina Bowden is attractive.
5. Everyone seems to be having a jolly good time, though I'm still not sure what they're satirizing. Do the makers of the film really believe it is that topsy-turvy to imagine two hillbillies who are not, in fact, backwards inbred murdering monsters? This is mostly for horror fanboys who will all chuckle amongst themselves, amused that they're subverting genres that, honestly, haven't been relevant since probably before they were born. "Tucker & Dale Versus Evil" barely holds together as a movie, and I couldn't quote you a single line of dialogue, but there's nothing offensive here. It's completely harmless entertainment that features a police officer being impaled through the brain by a two-by-four with rusty nails in it. That's enough to give you an idea, yes? It took me more energy to write this review than it did to watch the movie itself, which I suppose is a halfway decent sign, all told.