Built up to be the next big comedy troupe, Broken Lizard had mild successes with "Super Troopers", "Club Dread" and "Beerfest", but as much of a following as the group has gained over the years, I've never quite fully bought into the group's films. I've found all of them basically entertaining and that they offer some good laughs, but they all just lacked a certain something - mainly, much of a plot. As a result, the films just operate in "kitchen sink" style, with the actors throwing out whatever they can in the hopes something will stick.
"Slammin' Salmon" is the latest from the group, and the result isn't without flaw, but it is an improvement upon "Beerfest", as the group's approach seems a bit more straightforward this time around and the result is a more consistent, funny flick.
The picture focuses on the upscale restaurant run by former pro boxer Cleon "Slammin' " Salmon (Michael Clarke Duncan), who's in a lot of debt and even more trouble with the mafia. Desperate for cash, he informs the staff of his restaurant that the server who brings in the biggest amount of cash for the night will get ten grand - the one who brings in the least will regret it when they have to explain to him why. Of course, the wait staff has problems of their own that make for some serious obstacles throughout the night.
The jokes are still lowbrow, but there seems to have been some filtering (possibly due to the change in directors, from usual Broken Lizard director Jay Chandrasekhar to other group member Kevin Heffernan) this time around instead of just the random flinging of gags that has dominated past films from the group. The mad dash for cash aspect of the film also gives it an energy boost and focus that the film certainly does benefit from.
While the picture looks like it was done on a shoestring budget, they do manage to pull in a few solid performers from outside the group, such as Colbie Smulders (from "How I Met Your Mother") and Michael Clarke Duncan, both of whom turn in enjoyable performances.
Overall, Broken Lizard still hasn't impressed in the way that members of the State have (whether it be in "Reno 911" or "Stella"), but "Slammin' Salmon is an improvement over "Beerfest") and offers some crude laughs.
VIDEO: Anchor Bay presents "Slammin Salmon" in 2.40:1 (1080p/AVC). Video quality is pretty standard, as while the picture remained crisp and clear throughout much of the movie, definition was never particularly impressive. Some minor noise is seen in some scenes, but no edge enhancement or print flaws are spotted during the film. Colors looked fine during most of the scenes, with only a couple of moments showing slightly smeary colors.
SOUND:This is a "comedy mix" just about the whole way through. The surrounds are hardly used throughout the film, with the majority of the audio spread across the front speakers. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and no distortion or other faults.
EXTRAS: Two commentaries from the Broken Lizard crew, featurette and trailer.
Final Thoughts: Overall, Broken Lizard still hasn't impressed in the way that members of the State have (whether it be in "Reno 911" or "Stella"), but "Slammin' Salmon is an improvement over "Beerfest") and offers some crude laughs. The Blu-Ray edition boasts fine audio/video quality and a nice set of extras. Rent it.
The Film B-