Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Movie Review: Bad Milo! (2013)

A movie with a premise like the one in Bad Milo should not be this good. It really shouldn't. But, as a lover of all things horror (even the really, really weird) and as a bored chick looking for something funny to watch the other day, I figured I had to at least give Bad Milo a chance. Hey, if a movie is stupid you can always turn it off, right? There was never a second where I wanted to turn off Bad Milo, though. The movie definitely uses the strangest metaphor I've ever seen for the problems a man is having in his life, but dang if they didn't deal with it in a way that made me totally love it.

It's a stressful life for poor Duncan, who has to deal with growing pressures at work and at home. Mixed with some pretty nasty gastrointestinal problems, and Duncan's stress soon manifests itself as an actual creature that lives in his bowels and pops out occasionally to kill all of the people that are causing Duncan problems. With the aid of a very strange therapist, Duncan tries to get to the root of his, uh, internal problem, before the creature kills everyone in his life!

If you come into the movie with the right attitude, Bad Milo will be able to take your probably extremely low expectations and flip them on on their head. Let's just get things straight here again: the movie is about a creature who lives in a dude's ass. A two-foot tall creature with a fairly gigantic head and sharp, sharp teeth and nails. In Duncan's butt. The movie has the absurdity of little creature features from the 80s like Critters, Ghoulies, or Gremlins (the obvious comparisons) but Bad Milo at least tries to go beyond the basics of its absurd plot to help tell the tale of a normal guy with normal problems that need fixing. A problem I had, though, was that the problems in Duncan's life really didn't seem all that major to cause him so much stress. There are worse things in life than just your mother nagging you about having a baby, just sayin'.

A big part of Bad Milo's success is the impressive cast, led by the very competent Ken Marino as Duncan. He plays Duncan as the perfect everyman, just a good guy who gets stepped on and controlled by everyone around him and doesn't have the guts (HAHA, see what I did there?) to stand up for himself. The guy playing the doctor that Duncan and his wife Sarah are visiting at the beginning was hilarious through his entire scene, playing the kind of the doctor that you both want and don't want for yourself. Strange bedside manner. Mary Kay Place as Duncan's mother is also funny, considering a certain reveal near the end, and Stephen Root is fantastic as always as Duncan's dad Roger. Peter Stormare practically steals the show from everyone as the New Age-y, hippie type therapist Highsmith. It still surprises me to see Stormare be so funny in different roles. It's hard for me to get him as Grimsrud from Fargo out of my head whenever I see him in something else! Anyway, aces all around in the casting department.

Oh, and Milo. He's funny, ugly, and adorable all at the same time. The movie sets its own precedent for Milo's existence as being based on some kind of myth about this creature being a manifestation of your subconscious and being able to carry out your darkest desires for you. And apparently that turns into a bulbous, wrinkly, flesh-colored thing that can thrive in the anus. Sure. Why not. Milo doesn't talk but instead makes these little chittering noises, kind of like Gizmo from Gremlins. Milo is also a very nice looking practical puppet who is perhaps just as good an actor as anybody else. And he's practical pretty much all the way through, I think - maybe they snuck in some CGI while I wasn't looking, but I still like. Could Milo become a new cult favorite monster? We'll see!

Most surprising about the movie is that given the premise, it never gets into that really crude or juvenile area of humor that I hate that so much. Of course there is toilet humor to a degree but it is not done in a stupid, "pooping is funny" way so I didn't mind it at all. A lot of the comedy comes from just the characters' personalities and the perfect timing by the actors - and also from this one really great scene where a woman refuses to reciprocate oral sex, which is of course funny to me because movies usually show the situation as a guy dissing a girl after she's done the deed, know what I mean? Good move, girlfriend. Undoubtedly the best scene of the movie is the little montage of Duncan and Milo living together in a motel room, while they try to bond with each other - and while Duncan tries to get Milo to want to eat something other than humans. It's a pretty hilarious and strangely touching scene at the same time. There's also this weird parallel between Duncan and Milo's relationship and Duncan's reluctance to be a father but they actually made that work out alright in the end.

There are times when the pacing is a little off and there are dialogue-heavy gaps between funny or action scenes, but Bad Milo is still a joy. It's definitely heavy on the quirk side but a great cast and a great overall attitude and tone make this one that anybody could dig.

You might also want to take note of the fact that Milo bites a penis off at one point. I'm not really sure why I had to add that in here... just an interesting tidbit to make you more curious...

1 comment:

  1. I was pretty excited when I finally saw this get posted up on Netflix, I'd been wanting to see it since the trailer first started making rounds for it but hadn't gotten a chance to.

    I loved it in the same way that I love Killer Klowns, it's fun, it's silly and it's just a good time. I can definitely see why some folks wouldn't like it, the premise is pretty far out there but Milo is just adorable in the oddest of ways and it's far enough out there for me to get behind it.

    I completely agree with you on him possibly achieving cult status as well. If Sam can, I think Milo can too.