[Screen It]

(2004) (Bill Paxton, Brittany Daniel) (R)

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Comedy/Horror: Various staff members of an island resort try to figure out who's killing them.
Coconut Pete (BILL PAXTON) is a washed up former rock star who runs the Pleasure Island resort on Costa Rica. His goal is for him and his young partygoers such as Penelope (JORDAN LADD) to have a good time and encourages his staff to make sure that happens. Among them is Sam (ERIK STOLHANSKE) captain of the "fun police," sexy aerobics instructor Jenny (BRITTANY DANIEL) and new masseur Lars (KEVIN HEFFERNAN) who has a magical touch with his hands.

Then there's the standoffish tennis instructor, Putman (JAY CHANDRASEKHAR), dive master Juan (STEVE LEMME) and Pete's own nephew, Dave (PAUL SOTER), among a group of others. Everyone's ready to please the new guests, but when someone or something starts killing the staff members according to the lyrics found in one of Pete's old songs, he, security man Hank (MC GAINEY) and the surviving staffers try to figure out the killer's identity, all while eyeing each other as suspects.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Most everyone knows about the concept of giving second chances to people, organizations or things that have failed and/or disappointed them in the past. Lord knows enough people do that regarding familial and romantic relationships, sports teams and the like. I've always believed in doing the same for movies, filmmakers and performers that didn't exactly succeed the first time around.

That said, I knew that the collision of the spring break/party resort and horror spoof genres with the filmmaking team responsible for the abysmal "Super Troopers" would test my ability to grant such leniency.

After all, and despite actually sporting too many entries in their respective genres, those two sorts of films have been run into the ground and/or worn out their welcome, while the aforementioned picture from the comedy troupe Broken Lizard barely qualified as a comedy.

Unfortunately, the same can said about their second feature effort, "Broken Lizard's Club Dread." Less a movie than a slipshod skit that's gone terribly awry and been padded, stretched and then some into a full-length movie, the supposed comedy falls in line with its predecessor. Meaning it's sophomoric, idiotic, annoying, sloppily made and, in my opinion, not particularly funny, or even that amusing.

While I can somewhat understand the troupe's comparison to the Monty Python gang - as both sport comedy teams doing irreverent and often goofy or silly material - the two are light years apart in terms of comedic acting, writing and overall material.

I'm not sure what John Cleese and company could have done with this concept - if they would have even tried at all, other than in their "Flying Circus" skit format - but it obviously would have been far superior to what's offered here.

The biggest problem obviously is that it's just not good comedy from a conception or execution standpoint. Rather than taking the multi-spoof approach of the Wayans Brothers in those "Scary Movie" films, this is a one-note spoof of the overall genre rather than recognizable, specific films. Simply put, young, wild and over-sexed characters meet their demise at the hands of a masked serial killer, with every genre cliché being trotted out.

The result is like a lame Saturday Night Live skit gone bad with no temporal constraints (the film clocks in at 100 some minutes but feels like an eternity). The filmmakers - actor/director Jay Chandrasekhar and the rest of his Lizard pack - who wrote the screenplay -- insert other sorts of material for intended laughs, but all of that's just as bad or worse than the horror spoof elements.

One of the bigger running gags has Bill Paxton - who appears here for reasons unknown - playing a Jimmy Buffet sort of island partying character. Rather than his signature song being "Margaritaville," it's "Pina Colada-burg." If that has you falling out of your chair with gut-busting or at least balance-impaired laughter, then by all means rush out and see this film.

Otherwise, be warned that that's pretty much the quality of the rest of the offering. While there are a smattering of moments that occasionally made me chuckle, they're far outnumbered and outweighed by the rest of the sophomoric, lame and banal material.

Not surprisingly, the performances are right in line with what you'd expect from a picture like this. Aside from the Lizards playing their standard array of wild and crazy guys, Paxton ("Frailty," "U-571") slums it as the resort owner and washed up rock star, M.C. Gainey ("The Country Bears," "The New Guy") plays a security guy/fodder for the meat grinder and Brittany Daniel ("Joe Dirt," "The Basketball Diaries") fills out her role as the scantly clad aerobics instructor/damsel in distress.

Considering their track record to date, I'm not sure the comedy troupe deserves a third chance to prove their comedic worth. Unless you're a big fan of the group (that only makes the old work of Monty Python seem that much more hilarious and ingenious), you might be wise to avoid this "comedy" that goes down (and might just come back up) like some tainted tropical resort chow. "Broken Lizard's Club Dread" rates as just a 2 out of 10.

Reviewed February 25, 2004 / Posted February 27, 2004

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