Broken Lizard troupe stumbles again in ‘Slammin’ Salmon’

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, December 10, 2009 12:52pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

I never thought “Beerfest” would look good in retrospect, but perhaps I was wrong.

Here’s a new one from the Broken Lizard comedy group, the boys whose gross-out wallow “Beerfest” was a steep falling-off from their funniest picture, “Super Troopers.” We won’t mention “Club Dread,” an out-and-out Broken Lizard dud.

“The Slammin’ Salmon” is set inside a Miami restaurant, where the owner, a former heavyweight boxing champ (Michael Clarke Duncan), tells his waitstaff he must make an enormous amount of money in a single night to pay off a mob debt. Chaos ensues.

Naturally, most of the waiters are the Broken Lizard boys. Kevin Heffernen, who also directed this outing, plays the manager, an unfortunate man who ingests a diamond ring that a wealthy patron was planning to give to his fiance this evening.

Jay Chandrasekhar gets a few laughs by playing a waiter off his medication, Steve Lemme is an ex-actor who returns to waiting tables after getting fired from a TV series, Eric Stolhanske is a leering lech and Paul Soter plays two roles.

The BL crew is joined by April Bowlby and Cobie Smulders, two actresses with a taste for slapstick. They’d better have a taste for slapstick, because the humor hereabouts is crude.

When you find yourself typing the sentence, “Michael Clarke Duncan displays the subtlest comic touch in the movie,” you know the movie in question is probably pretty broad.

The spectacle of the staff waiting for the diamond ring to re-emerge is the least of the movie’s transgressions against taste. But then we expect that from the “Beerfest” creators.

But taste is one thing, funny is another. I would have no problem with this movie’s rampant crassness if only it were really, really funny. Hey, Cloris Leachman was funny in “Beerfest,” and she did a few unspeakable things.

Not only is the humor off, the cast has an annoying tendency to laugh at each other’s jokes onscreen. Nothing kills a gag like pretend laughter in response to it, and “The Slammin’ Salmon” has too much of that. Also, no Cloris Leachman.

“The Slammin’ Salmon”

The staff at a Miami restaurant goes crazy one night trying to set a sales record for their in-debt owner (Michael Clarke Duncan) — a situation that ought to provide some opportunities for the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, but that ends up with lots of bad taste and too few laughs.

Rated: R for language, subject matter

Showing: Uptown

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