Tuesday, April 13, 2010

THE SLAMMIN' SALMON

Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske), the filmmaking comedy troupe responsible for the popular SUPER TROOPERS, CLUB DREAD and BEERFEST, return with a comic look at the restaurant business: THE SLAMMIN' SALMON (2009).

SALMON tells the story of Cleon Salmon (Michael Clark Duncan, DAREDEVIL, THE GREEN MILE), a former heavyweight boxing champion turned Miami seafood restaurateur, who, owing $20,000 to a Yakuza boss, challenges his waiters to sell more food in one night than they've ever sold before - otherwise he'll lose the eatery... and they'll lose their jobs. And, incidentally, if that should occur, the Champ will feel obliged to beat the hell out of the server who earns the least money.

Directed by Kevin Heffernan, SALMON is, refreshingly, neither as raunchy nor as mean-spirited as most modern comedies. Nor are the characters in the film utterly despicable. All of the Lizards - along with Duncan, April Bowlby and Cobie Smulders (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER) - manage to make their characters likable as well as funny, which enables the viewer to become at least somewhat invested in the outcome of their competition. The cast is rounded out with familiar faces like Vivica A. Fox, Morgan Fairchild (playing herself), Lance Henrickson, and HEROES' Sendhil Ramamurthy as various diners.

It's not the kind of comedy "classic" that I think anyone is going to want to watch repeatedly, but I got some honest laughs out of it, and, like I said, despite the opportunities in the script, the guys managed to avoid going for the gross-outs or cruel, humiliation humor that so many of today's comedies revel in. It's fun.

Anchor Bay's DVD presentation of BROKEN LIZARD PRESENTS THE SLAMMIN' SALMON is solid, if unspectacular. The film has been given a pristine, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a crystal clear Dolby Surround 5.1 audio mix. Two audio commentaries are provided, featuring various Lizards. Other extras include the original theatrical trailer and a short featurette (videotaped in the back of a moving car) where several of the Lizards recount their past personal experiences in the food service industry.

THE SLAMMIN' SALMON is an entertaining and amusing 98 minutes, with plenty of genuine laughs. If you enjoyed Broken Lizard's previous films, you'll definitely want to check this out. If you're not familiar with the group's earlier efforts, you may enjoy giving this one a spin anyway.

BUY: The Slammin' Salmon