Directed by Kevin Heffernan
I have to say that I’ve never really been one of those people who finds every movie that the Broken Lizard Troop creates to be endlessly amusing. I laugh here and there, but for the most part, I’d rather leave ’em then take ’em. “Super Troopers” was vastly overrated. “Club Dread” was dreadful (come on, you saw that coming). “Beerfest” was amusing, but hollow, and now “The Slammin’ Salmon” follows in the same foot steps of its brethren, showcasing a comedy team that tries hard but still ends up missing the mark more often than not.
And that’s probably the greatest compliment that I can give Broken Lizard. They try hard to make you laugh. They really do. While most failed comedies feel like they are pandering to their audience, hitting all the jokes that test screenings say are big with certain demographics, Broken Lizard sticks to their guns and gives you what they think is funny. They don’t marginalize their jokes for the sake of a larger audience, they’re willing to be as juvenile and (rarely) as intelligent as they want to be. You can tell that they make the movies they want to make and do their best to make sure that these films are outrageous. If only they could be funnier.
There are, however, some bright spots in the film. Jay Chandrasekhar plays a hilariously deranged waiter, probably providing the best joke of the film early on about sleeping with a orangutan, and as is often the case with Jay, the punchline of the gag comes from his spot on delivery and not necessarily the words that are coming out of his mouth. Michael Clarke Duncan is also quite entertaining. It’s sort of sad to see the smaller and smaller roles that this talented man has been getting since breaking on to the scene (and peaking) with “The Green Mile”, but he still provides the most consistent laughs in the film as a delusional and linguistically challenged ex-boxer. The film even has some entertaining cameos, particularly in the form of Will Fotre, who just wants to read the entirety of “War and Peace” at the restaurant table and be left alone. You can see the punchline of his character coming from about a mile away, but that doesn’t decrease its merit. And any film where I get to stare at Cobie Smulders for an hour and a half can’t be all that bad.
The story of the film is simple, in fact, it’s the premise of classic comedy. The actors all give a 110%. Every ingredient was there for a fantastic comedy, if only the jokes in between could have been funnier.