Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Broken Lizard's THE SLAMMIN' SALMON: More laughter and a bigger budget

Broken Lizard is a comedy troupe that TrustMovies ought not to like, given its combination of low-
end humor, slapstick & schlock. But he does. Go figure. Sometimes more than others, of course, and fortunately BL's new movie THE SLAMMIN' SALMON is one of the troupe's best: glitzier, sillier, funnier and definitely high end--given what we have seen previously from these guys.

Set in a chic (for Florida) upscale restaurant owned by a former Heavyweight Champion named Cleon Salmon (Michael Clarke Duncan, as rude, pompous, funny and stupid as he's ever had the opportunity to be -- and he's great!), the restaurant is manned (and woman-ed) by a staff made up of Broken Lizard and its friends. This comedy troupe and its movies consist of one idea for each film, sometime good, sometimes not, and a collection of moments, some good, some not. Puddle Cruiser, the group's first film, had its funny stuff -- and enough of it to put BL on the map; Super Troopers, though the group's most popular film, proved a lot less fun for me. Club Dread had some -- and some very funny moments -- but Beer Fest was only middling, at best. None of the films have been anything approaching consis-
tently funny -- until now. The Slammin' Salmon puts a grin on your face pretty early on; once it gets going, the laughs never cease.

All the films are group-written by the Broken Lizard members, but this is the first to be directed by Kevin Heffernan (shown two photos above with Duncan). Perhaps Mr. Heffernan has found his metier. (He's in the film, too, as the toadying, pompous maître d' and right-hand man to Cleon Salmon.) He helps bring many of the running jokes to proper fruition, and keeps the pacing smart and the action on-point. The plot has to do with a competition between the restaurant staff to see who can bring in the most money -- which leads to greed, brawling, betrayals and lots of fun. Viveca A. Fox, Morgan Fairchild and Lance Henriksen put in appearances, and the distaff side of the wait staff is brought to perky and very pretty life by Cobie Smulders, April Bowlby (man, she's on fire!) and Carrie Clifford.

I cannot in good conscience claim Slammin' Salmon is great shakes as either comedy or art. But, unlike last week's dank and un-endearing The Strip, this movie made me laugh. A lot.

Broken Lizards's latest opens this Friday, December 11, in what might well be considered a nationwide release: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Austin, Dallas, Portland and Seattle! Check your local listings for theaters and showtimes.


GHJ - said...

My friends loved re-watching Super Troopers in college. Of course lots of beer was involved. I'd given up on these guys after Beer Fest, one of the worst films of the last decade. But this sounds promising. I'll check it out, with a beer in hand of course.

James van Maanen, said...

Yes: A beer. Or something stronger. And do let us know what you think of it, post-viewing...