A new Broken Lizard comedy—let the Oscar race commence. Actually, there’s a likeable, wet-nosed appeal to the troupe’s sense of humor: frat-ular and middlebrow, yes, but one that devised Beerfest (2006), a kind of Ugly American landmark of stupid. (You just have to go with it.) The Slammin’ Salmon, directed by longtime Lizard Kevin Heffernan, won’t stave off grumbles of diminishing returns; the film is set in a celeb-owned Miami restaurant and many of the gags—exploding entrees, the swallowing of a diamond ring, on-the-job drunkenness—feel like leftovers.
Watching over the wanna-be-upscale eatery is brutish owner Cleon “Slammin’?” Salmon (Duncan, the only consistently funny presence), a former heavyweight champ prone to disturbing his diners on horseback, punching innocent people and pitting his waitstaff against itself in a backstabbing battle for tips. The movie soon comes to resemble a trashy live-action video game, with bipolar “Mongo” (Chandrasekhar) and snobby Kelly (Rosalie Ward), among others, jockeying for position on a whiteboard. None of this is especially nourishing, but it’s peppered with enough incident to keep you from nodding off. Was anybody holding their breath for a Morgan Fairchild cameo? Here she is, playing herself: the cosseted star of a TV cop drama. She seems very patient.