By: Eugene Novikov, reprinted from the SXSW Film Festival
Before The Slammin' Salmon, I wouldn't have called myself a fan of the boys from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, though I have some mild, slightly embarrassed affection for Super Troopers and Club Dread. But Salmon is 90 minutes of truly inspired comic mayhem. With valuable assists from the rest of their cast, Broken Lizard has crafted the funniest film of SXSW – and they had some fine competition. I know I said that you can't trust me, but trust me: this is great stuff.
Broken Lizard is Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske and Kevin Heffernan. Heffernan directed and the entire troupe is credited for the screenplay. But in a shrewd move, The Slammin' Salmon revolves around an outsider: Michael Clarke Duncan, who plays a boxer-turned-restaurant owner named Cleon Salmon, a.k.a. "The Champ." In the best comedy tradition, the Champ combines dim-witted cluelessness with peerless confidence. That, combined with his enormous size, puts his employees in mortal fear of his wrath. So when, one evening, he announces that the waiter with the most sales gets $10,000 while the loser gets a "broken rib sandwich," the waitstaff – led by their officious manager (Heffernan) – step to.