First a positioning statement: I’m not a big Broken Lizard fan. The first five minutes of Super Troopers were so funny that I nearly wet my pants. I don’t think I’ve laughed at anything else their comedy troupe has done since. I guess it was sort of funny when the fat one drank himself to death in Beerfest. Otherwise, no laughter. Until that is, last night when I showed up at the Alamo Drafthouse for the SXSW presentation of their newest movie The Slammin’ Salmon.

Salmon has something that none of the Lizard boys’ other movies ever seemed to have. Consistency. The Slammin Salmon establishes a world and a specific tone, carries it through the entire movie, and it works. This is the first movie directed by Broken Lizard member and aforementioned fat beer drinker Kevin Heffernan and I hope it’s not the last. His movie is set in the by now, comedied to death world of restaurant waiters, but it mines comedy in the table-waiting genre without resorting to any of the tired, idiotic, kitchen clichés. For instance, there’s not that obligatory scene where a waiter does something disgusting to a customer’s food. The script is unique, the gags are fresh, and the movie is flat out funny. There’s no real attempt to draw any of the character as real people with real feelings or lives. Instead it’s like a perfectly structured live-action cartoon, and I mean that in the best possible sense.

Oddly enough, most of the best gags aren’t handled by any of the Broken Lizard team. Michael Clarke Duncan co-stars as former boxer turned restaurantour Cleon Sammin, and he’s comedy gold. He steals every scene, runs away with the movie, and without him The Slammin’ Salmon would be nothing. He’s like a deranged Looney Tunes character give shape and form. Combine Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Bug Bunny and you’d have Cleon Sammin. Give me more Michael Clarke Duncan.

The Slammin’ Salmon is easily the best work Broken Lizard has ever done. It’s the first movie their fans can admit to seeing, without the lingering stink of shame which usually accompanies inexplicable support of Club Dread. Broken Lizard has finally sharpened its wit and delivered on that 5 minutes of Super Troopers promise.

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