Director: Kevin Heffernan Link: IMDB The Broken Lizard comedy group's Super Troopers sure holds a special place in my heart. Back during my college days at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a couple of buddies and myself went to Blockbuster one night on a mission to find a great comedy. About an hour later we all agreed upon Super Troopers, but the decision was not an easy one to make because the only information we had to go on was from the back of the DVD box and the previews that aired on television about six months earlier. As I look back on that night almost a decade later, I think it's safe to say we made the right choice because, as it stands right now, I only need one hand to count the number of comedies in the history of cinema that are as original and consistently hilarious as Super Troopers. Absolutely adoring this movie might be going against the grain, but there was just something about the peculiar sense of humor of the Broken Lizard troupe – Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske - that really connected with me. That bizarre shtick that is both sophomoric and sharp can also be found in their other films – Puddle Cruiser, Club Dread and Beerfest – but it just feels like all the stars were aligned when they made Super Troopers because almost every joke clicks and it's one of those movies that keeps getting funnier with each viewing. But as much as I love Super Troopers, I realize its style of comedy is not for everyone. In fact, almost every time I watch it I try to picture what it would be like if I didn't find Broken Lizard's brand of humor appealing. Well, after sitting through their latest effort, The Slammin' Salmon, I know exactly how those poor souls would feel. There are a few laughs to be had in The Slammin' Salmon, but the film never sustains a comedic rhythm, partly because the majority of the gags are either too conventional or simply not funny. The Slammin' Salmon is so lifeless and drab that it doesn't even feel like it was made by Broken Lizard, and it goes without saying that it is easily the least impressive of their five movies. (I guess everyone can have their off days.) Taking place over the course of a single night, The Slammin' Salmon is set in an upscale Miami seafood restaurant owned by “Slammin'” Cleon Salmon (Michael Clarke Duncan), a former heavyweight boxing champion who is as dumb as a pile of bricks and has a nasty temper. Cleon runs a successful dining establishment, but when he loses a $20,000 bet to the Yakuza in a friendly game of Japanese albino hunting, he is faced with the possibility of having to shut everything down. In an effort to keep his business, Cleon demands that his restaurant manager Rich (Heffernan, who also directs) gets the waitstaff to have a record night, with the biggest seller winning $10,000 and the loser receiving a broken rib sandwich. (Giving away $10,000 when he needs to make $20,000 might seem counterproductive, but Cleon is not a numbers man; he punches people for a living.) Motivated by greed and the spirit of competition, the staff at the Slammin' Salmon - Connor (Lemme), a failed television actor who is forced to come back to the restaurant with his tail between his legs when he is fired after two shows; aspiring ballerina Mia (April Bowlby of TV's Two and a Half Men); Guy (Stolhanske), a pompous pretty boy whose second home is a tanning salon; medical student Tara (Cobie Smulders of TV's How I Met Your Mother); busboy-turned-waiter Donnie (Soter, who also plays Donnie's identical twin brother, Dave, a chef); and Nuts (Chandrasekhar), a bumbling lunatic who becomes his alter ego Zongo and loses his pants whenever he forgets to take his medication - try to one-up each other as they push out the day's specials. If you ask me, all comedies need witty dialogue and side-splitting jokes to be effective and successful, but it also helps their cause when they feature overly buffoonish characters who have realistic and human qualities, which is what The Slammin' Salmon is substantially lacking. Most of the restaurant employees played by the Broken Lizard guys are not at all interesting or comical, but at least they are not nearly as irritating as Clarke Duncan's Cleon, whose mundane routine involves him mispronouncing a word or phrase and then erupting at those who correct him. The film also gets dragged down by a number of unsatisfying cameos, including Morgan Fairchild as herself, Vivica A. Fox as a preening pop-music diva and Will Forte as an annoying customer who would rather read 'War and Peace' at his table than eat. (But I guess you could blame that more on the screenplay.) If you are really craving a humorous comedy that takes a look at the restaurant world, I suggest you go out to your nearest video store and check out the superior Waiting. That movie might be a little more juvenile and crass than The Slammin' Salmon, but at least it's more amusing. Oh, and I bet you won't be sending that one back to the kitchen in disappointment. Rating: 4/10