March 4, 2004

Club Dread

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Unless you’ve been shrooming for the past week, you should know that The Passion has been stirring up heated talks about its graphic depictions and possible anti-Semitism. I was considering seeing Mel Gibson’s proclaimed work of biblical proportions this weekend. But aside from Hebrew School and a divine love for girls in Catholic school uniforms, I was certain that having a rather unreligous background wouldn’t be enough to write up such a controversial film. So I saw Club Dread, Broken Lizard’s follow up to their 2001 laugh-out-loud cop classic Super Troopers, which proved no simple task as I left the theater not as disappointed as just generally confused at what I had witnessed. The comic horror doesn’t really spoof horror movies like the Scary Movie series, it doesn’t fish for laughs like the Farrelly Brothers, and it certainly doesn’t scare anymore than the thought of a sequel. And because of this, I’m left contemplating Broken Lizard’s decision to make this movie. The Passion would’ve been an easier review to pen and less sore on the eyes to watch. And apparently it’s based on a book?

Broken Lizard is the five-man team of Colgate alums that we last saw as highway hogs. They all wrote the script and Jay Chandrasekhar, the Indian who played Ramathorne last time around, directs. In a nutshell, they now return as the diverse staff of a Paradise Island resort. Bill Paxton, the sissy CIA-wannabe in True Lies, is the main attraction of Pleasure Island, and the film, as Coconut Pete. Don’t think too hard — Coconut Pete is simply an island rocker whose appearance and sound makes him look like Jimmy Buffet and David Lee Roth’s lovechild. While the members of Broken Lizard dominated the comedy of Super Troopers, it is Paxton, with his intoxicated lyrics and appearance, that steal whatever show they intended this to be. Kevin Hefferman, who was Officer Farva and is now a master masseuse, and Soter, who’s moved from Officer Foster to a DJ, are again the two funniest of the five, but fail to come anywhere near the classic “chickenfucker” and “say car ram-rod” delivery. The jokes and physical humor aren’t up-to-par with Troopers or any other decent comedy. The main reason could be that a Jimmy Buffet island surf n’ turf skin-showing, bright-colored, tropical love fiesta just isn’t as offering as a bunch of punk policemen.

Why is the horror element even integrated into this movie? You got me. Until the end, the genre really isn’t necessary or even poked fun at aside from a hilarious stab at a real life game of Pac-Man. I think just having a Caribbean paradise island with Coconut Pete, Broken Lizard and Co. would have been enough comedic fodder to suffice. The common critic who is impressed with the rather young troop of laugh artists is comparing them to the likes of Monty Python. Come again? Month Python was a group of geniuses that brought so much depth to their humor, it was simultaneously brilliant and mind-boggling. It was the kind of comedy that emits its brilliance but never soaks itself in it, always moving another step forward. Club Dread — which has moments of spontaneity and genuine flair — seems as if all five of the guys couldn’t agree on what kind of movie to make, and the final product became the result of their tug-of-war. They’re talented, no doubt about that, but the unforgivable shapelessness is simply frustrating. The joke’s on Broken Lizard. I laughed for the wrong reasons.


Archived article by Dan Cohen