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  • Writer's pictureHunter Friesen

"Tour de Pharmacy" Throwback Review

Tour de Pharmacy is a hilarious and goofy cycling mockumentary that makes fun of the usual tropes you would find in the real world of professional cycling. While only being 41 minutes long, this television film from the team behind the tennis comedy 7 Days in Hell has enough laughs and hilarious moments that could fill a full feature-length film.

There are five main cyclers that we follow throughout the race. Each character is over the top and has their own quirks and personal motivations. Andy Samberg plays Marty, a white boy representing Africa, even though he’s only African because his American family owns a blood diamond mine. Orlando Bloom plays the high pitched and flamboyant Juju Pepe. John Cena is the steroid-infused Austrian, Gustav Ditters. Daveed Diggs plays Slim Robinson, the nephew of Jackie Robinson who only races to be recognized as the first black cyclist. Finally, Freddie Highmore plays the woman Adrian Baton who dresses as a man in order to compete in the race. These core characters carry the film from start to finish, dishing up several laughs each minute.

The story takes place during the 1982 Tour de France where doping and steroids have taken control of the sport. After one day of racing, every cyclist except the main five is banned from the race. For the next several stages we solely follow the proclaimed “Fab Five” as they battle each other for the title. An onslaught of funny gags and scenarios occur that make the competition feel like an episode of the old cartoon Wacky Races.

The mockumentary style of the film is comedic gold and makes every laugh even funnier. The film is staged as a sports documentary that would commonly be shown on ESPN. There’s archival footage of the race intercut with interviews with cycling experts and older versions of the racers as they tell their sides of the story of what happened at the race.

Director Jake Szymanski gives his cast all the power to carry the film and it pays off extremely well. The laughs are because of the characters that we learn to love for their unusual personalities. Szymanski’s previous television film 7 Days in Hell shares several similarities with this one and he takes what worked in that film and uses it here. He also creates an authentic looking documentary by shooting the race scenes with VCR cameras so it looks like it actually took place in 1982.

Each core actor is great in their absurd and almost idiotic characters. There’s also an endless parade of cameos and bit parts from celebrities such as Maya Rudolph, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Bacon, Danny Glover, Dolph Lundgren, J.J. Abrams, and even Lance Armstrong (poking fun at his own use of steroids). They all serve as interview subjects for the documentary and add to the comedy. The biggest laughs come from Rudolph as a “cycling expert” and Goldblum as older Marty.

Tour de Pharmacy is a hilarious and silly film that never takes its subject matter seriously and just wants to have fun. The short run time and goofy characters create a brilliant popcorn flick that will have you laughing all the way through.


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