The Film: The
Slammin’ Salmon
, 2009



The Principals:
Broken Lizard. Michael Clarke Duncan, Cobie Smulders, April Bowlby, Lance Henriksen, Olivia Munn



The
Premise:

A woman is repeatedly and
brutally raped. By a ghost. Oh wait, that was the LAST movie of the day. In this one a group of waiters are charged with a sales contest to bail the ex-heavyweight boxer owner of their restaurant. Or else. High concept!



Is it Good:

Yes. Ask the folks who watched it at my house last week:



NICK: A Broken Lizard movie is a special event in
my house. Super Troopers is a indie classic, Club Dread grows on you
like a delightful fungus, and Beerfest is a comedy for the other people
but with little nuggets of gold for us fans.
They’re all special events when they come out. The Slammin’ Salmon is
no exception, though the trailers and shoddy theatrical release window
certainly raised some red flags. Luckily, as is the case with all of
their films, the trailer did it no justice and
the boys have come back with their most polished and possibly most
accessible film.


I want.

MICAH:  It’s also unique in that this is the first
film where the BL gang pretty much takes a back seat to a showier,
funnier character in the form of Michael Clarke Duncan’s Cleon Salmon.
Bizarrely funny in a way that his previous comedic
peak in Talladega Nights only hinted at, Duncan’s line readings make
almost every scene of his an instant classic and provide the film with
the unique laughs it needs to transcend the conventional story. With the
heavy lifting safely in his hands, each BL
cast member mostly fills in the margins as relatively straight men
(with the exception of Chandrasekhar, who’s quickly become my favorite
performer of the group).


STEVE:  I agree with the
Chandrasekhar statement. His performance in
this one is nothing short of brilliance, and it’s clearly      obvious
that, with the shackles of directing being removed from him, he was able
to be more relaxed and ramp it up a bit. In fact, all of the Lizard
guys are wonderfully energetic, and it makes for a very easy and fast
moving film to watch. Heffernan, who replaces Chandrasekhar in the
director’s chair, is the straightest of the straight men and is more
toned down here than in previous Lizard entries. Still, by stepping back
a bit and allowing the others to have more of the jokes, per se, he
has crafted a very smoothly flowing film that is highly entertaining
throughout.


WILL: It’s been great to see that even
without a lot of commercial success (thank god for the home market),
these guys keep getting to work together and make their movies for their
audience. The Slammin’ Salmon is a smaller story than they’ve done
previously, one that you can almost see working as a play. As others
have noted, Duncan is the MVP here, and they’ve loaded his character
down with insanity. There’s something very specific about the way their
movies are written–the use of profanity in a Broken Lizard movie is a
wonder to behold. Everybody’s in top form here, but I think Soter was my
favorite out of the Broken Lizard team this time around. I’m so glad
these guys are out there doing what they do.



ANDREW: What I’m consistently amazed by with
these guys is the infinite quotability of their writing. From one movie
to the next, it seems like every single line of dialogue is something
you could offer up for, at the least, a chuckle. And Will’s mention of
profanity plays into this really well, whether it’s MCD bellowing,
“Whatever, motherfucker!”, or Michael Weaver explaining to a packed
restaurant that he was bored and needed something to do with his cock.
Since everyone’s picking their own MVP, though, I’m going with the
stalwart Steve Lemme. Playing a similar role to Adam Scott in Party
Down, he nailed the recently humbled star actor, and has the best
“flinging cole slaw against a window with his lower extremities” scene
in the movie, if not in all of cinema.


ANDREA: Speaking for those who have never seen a Broken Lizard
movie nor are familiar with the cast members, the movie doesn’t need to
hit an esoteric audience to work. The humor is smart, quick, and
transcends college humor at the right moments. You get your poop, your
hooker, your guy that doesn’t remember to take his meds, your drunk guy,
and the pretty girl that gets burned in the face. This film trusts you
to find more than just those things funny and rewards you. I can’t pick
out a star, and I don’t find the need to. I come away remembering an
ensemble, and with this kind of movie, that balance serves it well. I
have a feeling that this will reward one upon a second viewing with more
nuance, and that’s gotta set it safely above most of the others in this
genre.

JOHN: One of my favorite things about the Broken Lizard
guys is that their movies work so well with a big group of friends
watching together. Unfortunately, due to various reasons I have never
caught one of their films in the theater, but nothing beats the
experience of getting together with a big group of like minded people
and watching one of their films. I have to admit I was a little
skeptical of Slammin’ Salmon going in. The trailer looked awful to me
and none of the jokes hit. Then I watch the movie and realized it was
totally the marketing departments fault that the trailer blew. Jokes
were totally neutered in the trailer and cut in a way that just didn’t
work. Seeing the film, I now feel it is their best since Super Troopers.
Although the characters are drawn broadly, they seem grounded in a
reality that wasn’t there for Beerfest or Club Dread. Also, having
worked in a restaurant, I can tell you that a lot of the little
scenarios set up are very accurate–no one wanting the first table,
devouring any left over food like jackals, etc. I am glad that these
guys get to keep making movies and hope that it continues for as long as
they want. 

CESAR: I’ll echo John and say that this is their best since Super
Troopers, or at least shares the same traits which made me love it so
much. It’s definitely one that I want to watch again and again, with a
new quotable joke or nuance being caught each time.  I enjoyed Beerfest
and Club Dread (I’ll never pronounce “Penelope” correctly ever again.)
but I think Slammin’ Salmon’s smaller setting really let these guys
shine and puts the emphasis where it belongs.
 
JUSTIN: I HATED it! After all of the positivity spooned out above,
there just had to be one dissenting voice, right? One person not taking
quick sips from the shared groupthink cup, right? One lone movie watcher
shrugging his or her way through the laughter of the crowd…. Well,
dear readers, that person ain’t me. I did not HATED it. In fact, I liked
it quite a bit. I just didn’t want the anti-Broken Lizard crowd to feel
left out. Anyway, I’m a big fan of Super Troopers. (Nick admitted
recently that he was growing a wee bit tired of it. And then he started
telling me how great Ryan Phillippe is. It was confusing.) And I think
the much disliked Club Dread is pretty much perfect. If anything, I miss
the ambition of those two flicks. Broken Lizard’s last two movies,
Beerfest and The Slammin’ Salmon, are both really fun. But they lack the
(admittedly) minimal polish of the crew’s best work. I’m sure it’s all
budgetary – as in “used to have none, now we have less.” Maybe Super
Troopers 2 will see the crew rolling around in daily catered Applebee’s
as they film scenes. The Slammin’ Salmon may indeed look crappie, but
its pratically exploding with guffaws and giggles. Michael Clarke Duncan
really is the winner here. The guys have a history of writing amazing
parts for special guests – Bill Paxton in Dread, Brian Cox in Troopers,
Monique(!) in Beerfest- and this is no exception. In fact, it works
almost too well. Like Micah wrote above, the BL crew kind of fill in the
background behind Duncan’s nutty perf. But it really works for the
movie. And you have to hand it to Duncan. He really delivers in every
single scene he’s in. It was rumored that the guys originally wrote the
part for Mike Tyson. Casting him would have been a huge mistake. For
example, the movie might have gone straight to DVD.


And there you have it.



Is it
Worth

a Look:
Yep, and though I’d ask the non-Broken Lizard fans to give it a shot because it’s a little different than their other movies… it’s probably not going to change many minds. That said, for the large chunk of people out there who haven’t tuned in to these guys, this could be a good gateway flick.

That said, Club Dread has become my favorite of theirs and currently I’d rank the films in this order:

Club Dread
Super Troopers
Beerfest
The Slammin’ Salmon
Puddle Cruiser

But that’ll change tomorrow. Either way is that these guys are very special. In their non-specialness. They’re down to Earth guys that somehow make it work.

Random
Anecdotes: 
Olivia Munn. So hot. Actually all the girls in this represent different delightful food groups. I want a Michael Clarke Duncan rap CD now. Also, the Rocky III homage (complete with an Eye of the Tiger knockoff by the band Earthcock) is a game changer. Also, the bit with the hair and the glass of water and the football players… destroyed me.

I really like Heffernan as a director. Especially if it allows Jay to kick ass like he does here.

Cinematic Soulmates: Club Dread, Super Troopers, Beerfest, The Slammin’ Salmon, Puddle Cruiser


The
Tally

So Far

 Positive  Negative
 Pontypool Deadgirl
 State of Play The Children
 Orphan  It’s Alive
 Grace  Friday the 13th, Part 3
 Inside  Hounddog
 3000 Miles to Graceland Columbus

Day

The Last Supper  Angel

Eyes

 Things To Do In Denver
When

You’re

Dead

Highlander:

The

Source

 World’s Greatest Dad  
The Killing Hour (aka The
Clairvoyant)

 Lady Beware  
The

Neverending
Story

 Pitch Black  
Battlefield Earth
 For All Mankind  
 Splinter  
 Blessed

by

Fire

 
 Outland  
The Kindred  
 

Top

Secret

 
 

Beer Wars

 
  The Brood  
The

Incredible

Hulk 

 
Undertaking

Betty

 
 Cache  
 
Taxi
Blues

 
 
Across the Universe
 
Lord of War
 
 
Dead Heat

 
 
The

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
Across the

8th Dimension

 
 
Every
Which Way But Loose

 
 
The Entity

 
 
The Slammin’ Salmon