Friday, April 5, 2013

Broken Lizard's Club Dread - 2004

"Broken Lizard's Club Dread" - 2004
Dir. by Jay Chandrasekhar - 1 hr. 44 min.

Official Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

When I got up this morning, I honestly couldn't remember which movie I had watched the previous night.  Drew a complete blank on the title.  I had to go into my DVR's settings to figure out what it was that I had watched.  It turns out that it was "Broken Lizard's Club Dread," and once I figured that out, the whole thing came rushing back to me.  But still, when a two hour gap pops up in your mind, that's probably not an indication that you've just watched the greatest film ever.  That's not my bar for what constitutes a good time, but it would be fair to say that "Club Dread" isn't Broken Lizard's best film, either.

Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) is a burned-out good-times rock-star with his own private island, paid for by his hit song, "Pina Colada-Burg."  Pete has opened a resort there, where his fans flock to for sun-soaked, booze-fueled relaxation.  Someone is slowly offing all of the staff of the resort with a machete, and eventually strands everyone on the island while he attempts to finish his corporate downsizing project.

I generally like the Broken Lizard crew; "Super Troopers" is one of my favorite comedies.  But it's also the high point of their work together.  Their other films are uneven, which is the nice way of saying that there are really funny parts and other parts that don't work.  Part of the reason why I didn't enjoy "Club Dread" as much as "Super Troopers" or "Beerfest" is that I don't have any affinity for horror films.  Not good ones, not bad ones, not at all.  This film is a riff on slasher films, but I'm more interested in the comedy than the source material.  Since I wasn't particularly interested in the plot or the murders, I found myself just waiting for something funny to happen, which did happen from time to time.  But every time it was time to advance the plot, I returned to my disinterested state.

So, what's good here?  Well, I suppose that most of the characters were designed to be annoying because of horror movie tropes: don't you see those kinds of movies because you kind of want to root for the bad guy? There's a well-rounded collection of annoying people, and I sure didn't find myself rooting for any of them to escape the machete.  As far as actual scenes, probably the only one that I thought was clever was the human-sized Pac-Man game, complete with people in fruit costumes, and substituting pretty girls for the ghosts.  The Coconut Pete songs were pretty hilarious, and Bill Paxton did a great job with the character.  And "Club Dread" has ruined the name Penelope for me forever, due to Juan's (Steve Lemme) hilarious mispronunciation of it.  In fact, I think Juan and his hilariously tortured accent were responsible for most of the funniest things in the film.

But the single thing that made it easy to get through "Club Dread" was Jenny (Brittany Daniel).  I liked her character, and she's incredibly easy on the eyes (as befitting her role as a fitness instructor).  Even when things were dragging (and they might not drag as badly for you if you're a horror/slasher fan), she'd pop up and I'd contentedly watch her in her blue bikini, patiently waiting for something else funny to happen.  That's not a bad ace up the sleeve to have.  But for me, this just isn't my kind of movie.  I'm more into comedy, I've always been that way.  I can get into genre spoofs from time to time, but poking fun at genres I'm not familiar with (and the rules of those genres that I'm also not familiar with) is like listening to some odd dialect that shares common ground with the language I speak, but is like 30% different.  It's enough to throw me off and guarantee that I won't get enough of the jokes to really keep the movie moving along.  I saw "Club Dread" when it came out, and did so on the basis of it being a Broken Lizard product.  But if I'm not into the source material they're tackling, I guess their involvement isn't going to be enough to guarantee an unqualified win for  me.

2 / 5 - TV

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