Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Slammin’ Salmon’ Should Be Sent Back

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CHICAGO – The Broken Lizard Comedy Troupe (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske) have made consistently funny, unique comedies since they broke through with “Super Troopers” and followed that with two films that are arguably better - “Club Dread” and “Beerfest”. They’ve made their first dud with the pretty bad “The Slammin’ Salmon,” now on Blu-ray and DVD. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

Barely released in theaters at the end of last year, “The Slammin’ Salmon” was swept under the rug and will be a straight-to-DVD release for most markets. Having been an admirer of their past work, I was stunned that they couldn’t even get a brief theatrical release for the first Broken Lizard film since 2006. Now I understand. “Salmon” is easily the group’s most ineffective film with only sporadic laughs, the pacing of a sitcom, and some truly awful gross-out humor. Worst of all, it’s completely forgettable.

The Slammin' Salmon was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 13th, 2010.
The Slammin’ Salmon was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 13th, 2010.
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Michael Clarke Duncan plays “Slammin’” Cleon Salmon, a retired boxer who now owns the fanciest restaurant in Miami. He’s racked up some pretty serious gambling debts and comes to the restaurant manager (Heffernan) and orders him to make $20,000 that night to save their asses. The manager gets the brilliant idea to start a contest among his wait staff (including the rest of BL, Cobie Smulders of “How I Met Your Mother” and April Bowlby of “Two and a Half Men”), offering Norah Jones tickets and a trip to the server with the highest sale total (including tips) for the night. Wackiness ensues.

The Slammin' Salmon was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 13th, 2010.
The Slammin’ Salmon was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 13th, 2010.
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Said wackiness includes a drunk new waiter, one off the meds that keeps his multiple personality at bay, a waitress with 1st degree burns who keeps on working, a diamond ring that is (of course) swallowed by accident, and more bits that seem like they could have been conceived by a group of 5th graders who were assigned to write a sketch about “one crazy night at a restaurant”. These guys have excellent comic timing, but they’re not allowed to use it because “The Slammin’ Salmon” is too generic. They’re better than this material.

Part of the problem is that the directorial reins have been handed from Chandrasekhar to Heffernan. Jay is actually a pretty strong director, having helmed the previous films and some episodes of “Arrested Development,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” “Psych,” and “Chuck”. Heffernan is less experienced and it shows as the episodic structure of “The Slammin’ Salmon” never comes together to form a cohesive piece. It looks and feels cheap and haphazard.

Broken Lizard are reportedly returning to the movie that made them stars by making “Super Troopers 2” next. Any concerns that the sequel to what many consider their best film would be their first significant stumble can be alleviated by “The Slammin’ Salmon”. It’s unlikely to be worse.

The Blu-ray release of “The Slammin’ Salmon” includes two commentary tracks and a featurette - “Hellish Kitchen: Art Imitates Restaurant Life”.

‘The Slammin’ Salmon’ is released by Anchor Bay Home Video and stars Kevin Heffernan, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Will Forte, Cobie Smulders, April Bowlby, Olivia Munn, Vivica A. Fox, Lance Henriksen, Morgan Fairchild, and Michael Clarke Duncan. It was written by Broken Lizard and directed by Kevin Heffernan. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on April 13th, 2010. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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