Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bad Milo! (2013)

Bad Milo! is a lot of fun, I guess, but it's also yet another movie that seems to have been embraced by fans for reasons that I can't quite fathom. It's amusing, diverting stuff that benefits from solid performances, but *whisper it* it's not THAT good. Not really. Admit it. Or is it just me? Is it? Okay, maybe it's just me.

Ken Marino stars as Duncan, a man with a severe case of tummy trouble. As he gets more anxious and stressed he ends up spending more time on the toilet. It turns out that these bathroom visits are so strenuous, and leave him (sometimes waking up the next morning from the bathroom floor) so relieved, because he has a little creature living inside his body. A creature that pops out to deal with anyone who causes Duncan too much stress. And, with the people around him including a horrible boss (Patrick Warburton), a fairly inept work colleague or two and some interfering doctors, there's plenty to motivate Milo to come out of hiding.

Directed by Jacob Vaughan, who also co-wrote the movie with Benjamin Hayes, Bad Milo! simply ends up stumbling because it doesn't ever commit to any one approach to the material. While it's pretty heavily indebted to Basket Case it never embraces the craziness of the premise in the way that Henenlotter would. Of course, few people are as brilliantly barmy as Henenlotter, so if the film isn't quite as crazy as it could be then there are other ways in which it can impress. Sadly, it doesn't. The few gore gags are okay, but the rest of the humour is neither sharp or abundant enough to make this a really enjoyable experience.

The cast all do a good job, however, and Marino is particularly good in the lead role. Peter Stormare is the kindly doctor who tries to make Duncan and Milo develop a more harmonious relationship, Warburton puts in yet another great performance (the guy never really lets me down), Gillian Jacobs is Duncan's loving partner, Sarah, and there are good little supporting turns from Mary Kay Place, Kumail Nanjiani, Toby Huss, Steve Zissis and Stephen Root. And, despite my disappointment with the film, I have to admit that everyone involved does an admirable job of keeping a straight face.

If you're a fan of offbeat comedies or warped body horror fare then, judging by the reactions of others, you're likely to enjoy Bad Milo! a bit more than I did. I enjoyed it, and I wouldn't rule out giving it a rewatch one day, but I just didn't think it was anything great.


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