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IN SHORT: a Scary Movie wannabe. [Rated R for violence/gore, sexual content, language and drug use. [102 minutes]
From the quartet of comics, attempting to match (??) the old National Lampoon style, called Broken Lizard comes Club Dread. The key word in the title is "dread" but not in the sense of "dreadlocks" and dumb stoner comedy that we were expecting, based on the advance ads and materials. Those expectations are dashed within minutes of the film's start as two bare-breasted bimbos and the lucky Club counselor they're about to do are cut down by a machete carrying, walking totem pole.
Well, that's what the killer looks like -- a scary campfire story related later in the film puts the name [Machete Pete] to the figure, with a dumb, unfit to print, origin story tacked on. This slasher comedy is set in a Club Med style singles resort. It's rule of thumb: everybody gets drunk or wasted and bedded, if not by other guests, then by the counselors. Kinda like the rep Club Med foisted on the public a long time ago, before it decided to cater to families and the like.
The Club is run by the colorful singer Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) whose mid 70s hit record "Pina Colada-Burg" provided the cash to set up this resort off the coast of Costa Rica. Badge wearing Sam (Erik Stolhanske) runs the "Fun Police" and will make sure you have a good time even if he has to chain you to a suitable partner. Juan (Steve Lemme) will let you get into his Speedos if you ask nicely. New employee Jenny (Brittany Daniel) is the successor to "Aerobic Amy", who moved from the club to the television screen. She has similar dreams. Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar) is the dreadlocked tennis coach with a bogus Brit accent. Drugs are supplied by Dave (Paul Soter), Coconut Pete's nephew. One more newbie to the team, Lars (Kevin Heffernan), is a masseur who can make a woman, uh, reach the pinnacle of pleasure with a mere squeeze of his fingers.
And while the fun begins, the guy with the machete is chasing down campers and mowing down counselors. (He) even keeps score by crossing off the staff names on an activities chart. And while the staff begins to panic; do you remember the story of Nero fiddling while Rome burned? Well, Coconut Pete keeps a playing even as the body count rises.
On the plus side, after everyone gets slipped a dose of Ecstasy and the camp goes wild, the bad guy is finished off in a manner that had the demo-kidlets sitting behind me mouthing "That was sick!" That description means, as Martha Stewart would put it, it's a good thing.
The big problem, from our POV, is the difficulty of mixing slice 'n' dice with comedy. The aforementioned Scary Movie did it by lampooning the seen-too-many-times conventions of the genre. Club Dread doesn't go that route until the very end of the film, preferring to alternate dumb comedy with stabbing and chase scenes. That keeps (you) constantly off balance and, well, we hope you weren't stoned walking in. We remember those days. Slice 'n' Dice does not go well with an intense Thai stick rush
Oh... whoever did the bare breast casting did a very fine job.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Club Dread, he would have paid . . .
Broken Lizard is Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske
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