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October 4, 2013

Bad Milo!

(2013, Dir. by Jacob Vaughan.)

Ken Marino has long been one of those comic actors who's always memorable as a supporting character - dating all the way back to Wet Hot American Summer and peaking (at least for me) with Veronica Mars - so when I saw that he was going to headline a horror comedy that got picked up by the good folks over at Magnet Releasing my interest was piqued.

When I learned that the movie was going to be about a devilish monster who breaks out of Marino's colon and goes on a murderous rampage - well, then I definitely had to see the movie.

That movie is Bad Milo!, and it's as successful as it is ridiculous. Marino plays a timid businessman who deals with his mother (Mary Kay Place) dating a young Indian man, his father (Stephen Root) abandoning him, and his boss (Patrick Warburton) bossing him around. The result of all his stressors is a polyp on his colon, which sends him to a therapist (Peter Stormare) and some medical procedures. But I've already tipped you off to the secret - that polyp becomes Milo.

And Milo, the bug eyed, pointy-teethed, square-headed terror that comes into the film is one of the goofiest and most enjoyable new monsters to hit the screen in some time. He looks and sounds like something left over from the 1980s - fans of Basket Case will probably enjoy the film's joke - and he's presented with the same kind of balance between cute and evil that we remember from Gremlins. Of course, Bad Milo! also has a lot more toilet humor than Gremlins, but it spends more time on the monster and his creator (Can we call Marino's character a "creator" the same way we call Dr. Frankenstein a creator? It's a stretch, but I just did.) than it does making jokes that could take the film down the drain.

Marino is excellent in the lead, playing the straight and scared man for most of the movie, while the supporting cast does a great job of bouncing gags off of him. Stormare is particularly fantastic as the therapist who helps him deal with Milo, playing a rare light-hearted character and creating a lot of laughs with his laid back approach to this rectal monster. Others like Place, Warburton, and Root have smaller pieces of the film but all of them help Marino and his buddy Milo make the wacky plot funny.

Bad Milo! is an obviously R-rated horror comedy, with lots of blood and a bit of excrement spilled all over the screen and a few kill scenes that are barely shown on screen before we see the over-the-top crime scene that is left behind. It's a nice touch that writer/director Jacob Vaughan manages to show the gory monster side of Milo without taking the film too far from its comedy roots, which means that the film will probably play better for the Comedy Central crowd than the gore-obsessed horror crowd. There's a lot to like in the film for both crowds, thankfully, and anyone who can appreciate a ridiculous monster and some zany horror comedy will certainly have a good time with this tongue-in-cheek film.

(Bad Milo! is in select theaters starting today and is also available On Demand and via ITunes. If you're like me, you'll dig it.)

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