Monday, April 12, 2010

To be released tomorrow on DVD: "The Slammin; Salmon"

Grade: C-minus

The Slammin’ Salmon takes the premise of Big Night, one of the most sublime restaurant movies ever made, and tries to adapt it for the gross-out set. It succeeds. It’s your choice as to whether that’s good news or bad.

In Big Night two Italian immigrant brothers peg the survival of their struggling restaurant to a lavish meal served on one all-or-nothing night. The restaurant in The Slammin’ Salmon is owned by a former boxer (Michael Clarke Duncan, in the film’s best performance) who needs to make $20,000 in one night to pay off a gambling debt.

The focus here, though, is not on the food, but on the waiters and waitresses, who come up with one gimmick after another to get customers to spend more. The movie is the work of Broken Lizard, a sketch-comedy troupe that has branched into filmmaking (Super Troopers, Beerfest), and it has its share of funny moments. But it also has its share of tired ones, like the subplot involving the inadvertent swallowing of a ring.

How many times has this obvious joke been used in dumb movies? You’ll have plenty of time to ponder that as the ring makes its long journey down the digestive tract to its inevitable exit.

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