Directed by: Kevin Heffernan
Starring: Michael Clarke Duncan, Jay Chandrasekar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Cobie Smulders, April Bowlby
Well the Broken Lizard guys are back. This time with Michael Clark Duncan, Cobie Smulders and a slew of cameos including Sendhil Ramamurthy, Lance Henrickson and Morgan Fairchild. This time around they’re not highway patrolman or competitors in a secret international beer drinking contest but waiters at the Slammin’ Salmon, the Miami eatery owned by the retired Heavyweight Champion of the World, Slammin’ Cleon Salmon.
The former champ, hysterically played by Michael Clark Duncan, is in a tight spot. After losing a bet to a Yakuza chief he needs twenty grand, tonight. So to inspire the wait staff Rich, the manager, played by Kevin Heffernan offers up his Nora Jones tickets to the top seller of the night. When that doesn’t quite get the response that he needs the Slammin’ Salmon himself sweetens the pot with ten thousand dollars and the race is on.
So who are our contestants? There is Mia, April Bowlby, the pretty face of the group who is putting herself through ballet school. She is not above using her body and looks to entice tips from the male customers and even the female customers who lean that way. Guy, Erik Stolhanske, the resident swordsman who uses his oily charm and used car salesman technique to run up the tab. Returning to the Slammin’ Salmon after a brief foray into prime time as one of the leads on the new hit TV show CFI Hotlanta is Connor, Steve Lemme. Unfortunately Detective Shep Winford ended up dead “with the killer’s sperm in my shoe” in just the second episode so it’s back to waiting tables, which gets awkward when the cast of CFI Hotlanta show up. There is Tara, Cobie Smulders, filling the hot girl next door who’s working her way through medical school role. Her medical skills come in handy when her coworkers are receiving second degree burns in the face, swallowing $450,000 South African Bing Diamonds, and refusing to take their antipsycochtic medication. Predictably enough the member of the wait staff needing the antipsycochtic medication is Nuts, Jay Chandrasekar. Nuts is a little strange to begin with, but a competent waiter. When his medication starts to wear off though he becomes a super waiter, at least until the pants come off. Starting tonight as a busboy is Donnie, Paul Soter, the lovable goof is the twin brother of the hot headed chef. When Rich starts to despair of meeting the $20,000 goal Donnie get promoted to waiter.
As a Broken Lizard fan this movie is a bit of a disappointment. It’s their weakest performance yet. Shot in twenty five days during the writer’s strike of 2008 it feels like it. While the writer’s strike may have helped in securing the many cameos the film seems rushed. If you’ll forgive the pun it’s a tad undercooked. It feels like it needs a little more time in the oven. There are a lot of funny moments and many great gags it just falls apart as a cohesive movie. The acting by the Broken Lizard guys is a little dodgy here. They seem to fall back on character quirks and affectations rather than provide any depth to the characters. The rest of the cast is strong though. Cobie and April are wonderful and Michael Clark Duncan is sublime. Michael’s performance nearly makes up for all of the other flaws of the movie. He pulls off dialog that I can’t imagine anyone else getting away with.
The video is presented in widescreen format. The colors really pop and I never noticed any blooming. The colors look great but the facial tones seems a bit off in a few scenes. There is a tiny amount of grain on the shadows of some scenes but its soft and never grates. There is a spot or two of aliasing but I never noticed any moire or any other digital artifacts. Other than issues mentioned the video looks great.
The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound with English and Spanish subtitles. There is no distortion or any noticeable digital artifacts. The mix is excellent. I didn’t find myself having to ride the volume control up and down at anytime during the movie. The dialog, score and foley never step on each other.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The DVD comes in an ECO-BOX case with a cardboard slipcase. The art on the front of the case is a send up of the usual Photoshop disasters commonly found on DVD artwork. The backside of the case sports some of the more iconic moments from the film. The copy is honest and doesn’t oversell the movie. The extras are a bit thin. There are two commentary tracks. One with Heffernan and Lemme, the other with Chandrasekar, Stolhanske and Soter. Besides the theatrical trailer the only other bonus feature is a featurette of the Broken Lizard guys going somewhere in a van and talking about there real life experiences working in restaurants and waiting tables.
While the movie is not without redeeming qualities I can only recommend it to Broken Lizard completists. And if you’ve never seen a Broken Lizard movie you will actually be doing the guys a favor if you don’t start with this one.
Overall (Not an Average): 5/10
The Movie: 5/10
The Video: 7/10
The Audio: 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features: 7/10
Overall (Not an Average): 5/10