Broken Lizards Club Dread
Staff members keep dying at the hand of a masked, machete-wielding madman in comedy troupe Broken Lizard's follow-up to their breakout film Super Troopers.
What passes for a story takes place on Pleasure Island, a resort owned and operated by washed-up Jimmy Buffet wanna-be Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) and a crew of ''sexy'' staff members who want nothing more than to give the guests all the pleasure they can handle. Everything is going swimmingly, so to speak, until someone cloaked in a poncho and a mask starts picking off the staff one by one. Who is killing these beach babes and bros? Is it the new masseur Lars (Kevin Heffernan), who just happened to show up right around the time the first headless body showed up? Or is it Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar, also the film's director), the dreadlocked tennis teacher obsessed with workout video vixen Jenny (Brittany Daniel)? After most of the staff has been variously dismembered, decapitated and hung from the neck until dead, the final showdown leads to a bloody end for the raving killer. This is the first horror-themed film for the five-actor/writer group (Chandrasekhar, Heffernan, Paul Soter, Eric Stolhanske, Paxton) which found success in film after years of performing in New York City comedy clubs. Following the film festival success of their first film, Puddle Cruiser, Lizard went on to make the cop comedy, Super Troopers, a moderate hit.
Acting is too strong a word for what these puerile nitwits manage to squeeze out. Yes, granted, there are one or two funny lines in the film (''You've manacled me to my death bed, you pickaninny whore!'' elicited a giggle), but how on earth did these people come to call themselves actors? Super Troopers was not exactly thick with acting nuance, but this is ridiculous. Chandrasekhar's Putman is the funniest character in the film perhaps because he was at least smart enough to give himself moderately good direction and silly hair. Steve Lemme as ''dive master'' Juan Castillo falls back on a blatantly fake Spanish accent to liven up his one-note ''Latin lover'' role. Heffernan is equally tedious as the endlessly talented Lars, able to give a woman an orgasm just by touching her lip with his finger. Fascinating. To be fair, the actors also served as writers of this weak horror/comedy. Perhaps they were doing the best they could with their own material.
Chandrasekhar, remarkably, is a legitimate director outside of this and Super Troopers. He has directed a number of commercials and a few episodes of Fox's Arrested Development, a show far funnier than anything this film has to offer. Under his direction the film teeters on that comedy/horror line without really differentiating itself from all the other comedic horror films released in the years following Scream's success. The comedy is broad enough to make the deaths palatable, but there is a lack of real direction in this film. Certainly the bad guy will be vanquished in the end with one or two of the intended victims sailing happily into the sunset, but that's only clear because that's how all movies of this type end. The hackneyed scene where the killer reveals why he went on his rampage is so rushed and throwaway it almost seems that the filmmakers didn't spend as much time and effort thinking up a reason for the killing as they did planning the death tableaus.
Broken Lizard's Club Dread is more like Club Dread-ful--nothing new, and poorly executed.