Broken Lizard brings us a slasher comedy.
Famous island rocker Coconut Pete (Bill f*cking Paxton) runs a private resort off of Costa Rica. As a new group of guests arrive, three of the staff members are brutally murdered by a machete-wielding figure. It’s up to the surviving workers to figure out who the killer is before they become the next victim. Is the slasher: Jenny, the aerobics instructor (Brittany Daniels); Lars, the masseuse (Kevin Heffernan); Sam, the fun policeman (Erik Stolhanske); Juan, the diver (Steve Lemme); Puttman, the tennis instructor (Jay Chandrasekhar); David, the DJ (Paul Soter); Hank, the bodyguard (M.C. Gainey); or Penelope (Jordan Ladd), the mysterious woman with a dark past?
The answer is: One of them.
So, I was 15 when Super Troopers came out, thus making it the funniest movie of all time to me for about three months. You could start routines during lunch in High School and be positive that someone else in the room would finish them. So, three years later, when this movie came out from the same comedy group, I was psyched. Being 18 at the time, I remember thinking this was a great spoof on horror movies. Now, upon being asked to rewatch it… actually, I still think it does a pretty good job of it. However, critics tore it apart like they caught it in bed with their spouses. Not just in bed, even, but like the filmmakers were doing kinky stuff that the critics always wanted their spouses to do but thought they would never agree to. One of the reviews was titled “about as funny as malaria,” and that’s not the worst one. If I was to speculate as to why, it’s that this movie mostly goes for cheap laughs rather than the kind of off-beat routines that made Super Troopers work, but since it’s a parody of formulaic movies, I think that works in its favor.
One of the most clever things about the movie is that it goes out of its way to make sure that none of the members of Broken Lizard were typecast. All of their characters are massively different in this film than the previous one, which helps to also showcase the range that each of them is capable of. I particularly think that Kevin Heffernan and Jay Chandrasekhar went in wildly different directions, with Heffernan playing the pacifist in contrast with his crazy aggressive role as Farva and Chandrasekhar playing the British-accented perpetual loser in contrast with his cocky role as the leader of the troopers. Each of the characters is a pretty shallow archetype, but since it’s a slasher film, that’s pretty much how it’s supposed to be.
I’m just going to take a moment right here and say that I miss Bill Paxton even more when I watch this movie, because he is probably the standout. He’s clearly supposed to be a Jimmy Buffett parody, including having a hit song called “Piña-Coladaburg” which he performs during the film. This becomes even funnier at some points in the movie that I don’t want to spoil, but suffice it to say that the songs he does in the film are such perfect parodies that Jimmy Buffett himself asked if he could sing them on tour. I’m not sure why they apparently answered “no,” given that most people like free money and free promotion, unless they were going to put Bill Paxton in concert as Coconut Pete. Now I’m sad that that will never happen.
Another thing I really appreciate about the movie is that it doesn’t shy away from the kills. While they’re not particularly creative, they’re accompanied by buckets of blood like you would expect from Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s also got a pretty high body count, even for one of the films that this movie is parodying. It also embraces some of the bigger cliches of the genre and exaggerates them to the point of inanity in solid ways.
The last thing I love is the reveal of the killer. I’m not going to say who it was, but I will perpetually remember that it’s exactly the kind of insane twist that you’d expect from a bad slasher movie, thus it perfectly works here.
He had grass. My Grass.
Overall, I will fight that this is a fun horror comedy as long as you’re a few drinks in. Grab some pumpkin spice margaritas and give it a watch this Halloween.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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