Broken Lizard's Club Dread

The comedy troupe known as Broken Lizard is back with the appropriately titled Broken Lizard's Club Dread. The most succinct description of this film is Scream meets Scooby-Doo (the series, NOT the movie). Scream was intended as a send-up of the slasher genre, mocking its conventions and cliches, yet still managed to be a very effective horror film. Add to this mix a tropical island paradise with lots of drunken horny teens, gratuitous nudity and drug use, and one gets an R-rated, live action Scooby-Doo cartoon. Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske) again tries to inject as many jokes as humanly possible into their story, and the result is hit and miss. Like their first big film Super Troopers, it has its goofy moments.

Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton, Spy Kids 3-D, Frailty), a washed up Jimmy Buffet-like singer owns Club Dread, a small resort paradise for teens. It seems that somebody is killing off his employees, one by one. It also seems that none of the guests seem to care. The staff must try to figure out who the killer is while trying to stay alive and work at the same time. Unfortunately, because Broken Lizard wants each of its members to play a role, many of the staff members are indistinguishable. The newbie is Lars (Heffernan, Super Troopers, Big Helium Dog), the temporary masseuse. He constantly spouts meaningless New Age hooey and has a crush on Jenny (Brittany Daniel, Joe Dirt, Sonic Impact), the hot aerobics instructor. This annoys Putnam (Chandrasekhar, Super Troopers, Puddle Cruiser), a Rasta with a snooty British accent. The only other discernible character is a hunky Latino (Lemme, Super Troopers, Puddle Cruiser) who is being pursued by one of the guests, Penelope (Jordan Ladd, Cabin Fever, Darkened Room).

The other two members are there, but their characters aren't colorful enough to stick in the memory. While hedonism reigns supreme around them, the staff begins to bicker internally, accusing each other of being the murderer, while still finding time for hanky-panky. Chandrasekhar directs, and at no point is Club Dread supposed to be scary. Heck, one of the murders takes place in a shrubbery maze set up like a life-sized Pac-Man game, complete with staff wearing large fruit costumes. The extended finale is more goofy than anything else. The entire cast looks like it's having a blast, especially Paxton, and this sense of fun does get infectious at times. The humor tends to be on the crude side, with lots of jokes about sex and drugs. In other words, this is a movie that any guy in college would love.

Broken Lizard clearly works well together, playing off each other's strengths. However, there are no redeeming qualities about Club Dread, and one can probably argue that there are not supposed to be. The first glimpse of breast arrives within minutes of the film's beginning, and a quick flash or two is never far behind. This is the kind of film that seems like something a bunch of drunk friends would make on a weekend. Nevertheless, it is hard to sustain a sense of momentum for so long. Club Dread moves forward in fits and starts, full of a mix of hilarious gags and amusing ones, interspersed with some dull moments.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated R for violence/gore, sexual content, language, and drug use.

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