August 11, 2013

Bad Milo (2013)

"A horror comedy centred on a guy who learns that his unusual stomach problems are being caused by a demon living in his intestines."

If you've ever wondered what would happen if you mixed "Office Space" (1999) with "Basket Case" (1982), "Bad Milo", the latest horror-comedy coming to VOD services in a couple of weeks' time from Magnet Releasing ("the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures"), is the answer. According to their official website, "Bad Milo" will also be released theatrically on October 4th, but I'd hazard a guess that it'll be limited.

As usual, some unscrupulous screener-monkey has already uploaded "Bad Milo" to the streaming sites. I would moan about how it's about time that distributors stopped giving out screeners willy-nilly to all these lame horror bloggers who either just want freebies or to upload the movie illegally—especially as I've never asked them for anything myself—but as it's only from Magnet Releasing (who kept following and then unfollowing me on Twitter every 2 days until I blocked them), and I hate horror-comedies, I couldn't care less. "Bad Milo" isn't something which I would have gone out of my way to watch otherwise.

It's not that "Bad Milo" is badly made or anything—in fact, it has very good production values for a low-budget comedy full of puerile toilet humour—but it's a one-trick pony. Once the "hilarious" joke about a demon that lives in a guy's ass has been beaten to death (almost literally!), this predictable crap has very little to offer other than remixing scenes and elements from more famous movies in ways which frequently cross the line between homage and blatant ripoff.

As you can see in the picture below, Milo the ass-demon looks a lot like Baby Sinclair from the kids' TV show "Dinosaurs" (1991). He also has the big-eyed cuteness and a few other characteristics of Gizmo the Mogwai from "Gremlins" (1984). Writer/director Jacob Vaughan's influences are extremely obvious, especially his homages to the more evil gremlins, "Ghoulies" (1985), and Belial from "Basket Case". Basically, the horror parts are a throwback to all the little creature/puppet movies of the '80s, and consequently, "Bad Milo" brings nothing new to the table here whatsoever.

Everybody Loves Milo.

Clearly, "Bad Milo" is a product of the same creatively bankrupt culture which allows these so-called comedies and parodies to elude prosecution for copyright infringement, and it begs the question of how much is really "fair use" before someone starts throwing the word "plagiarism" around? When you can so easily identify the "borrowings" from other movies, how is that not theft? At the very least, it's extremely lazy filmmaking. If Mike Judge, Joe Dante, Frank Henenlotter, and Charles Band gave Jacob Vaughan their permission to "re-imagine" their movies then forget I said anything, but I highly doubt that such a thing ever happened.

Apart from casually noticing that the lead, Ken Marino, is channelling Ray Romano and Zach Braff at the same time (which may just be his normal acting style for all I know), it's pretty obvious to me that the situational comedy of "Office Space" forms the core of this movie. There's the slimy boss (in this case played by Patrick Warburton), firing/leaving interview scenes, embezzlement, retribution, and all the poetic justice of "Office Space", plus... wait for it... Stephen Root aka Milton "Stapler" Waddams is in this too!!!

Since I'm considered such a pariah by modern filmmakers and the distribution companies that I had to watch the "Bad Milo" screener semi-legally, the irony of the whole situation isn't wasted on me, but I'm still going to call this movie out for its lack of originality even though I haven't been swindled out of anything other than my wasted time. Needless to say, I didn't find any of it particularly funny.

The scenes with Peter Stomare (Satan from "Constantine") playing the new age therapist/witchdoctor Highsmith are mildly amusing, and I thoroughly enjoyed ogling Gillian Jacobs who plays Ken's sexy wife Sarah. Other than that, you can shove "Bad Milo" up your ass!

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