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Bad Milo (2013)
Magnolia Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/21/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/5/2014
Butt Monster. Those two words either completely grabbed your attention or you've moved on. Here's the question; Would you hinge a movie on that premise? And not a home movie or some direct-to-video release from Troma, I'm talking about an actual feature film with real, recognizable actors. Everyone's looking for a high-concept which can be encapsulated in a brief summary, but "butt monster" is going to open up people's imaginations to many, many unmentionable possibilities. These are the challenges facing Bad Milo, arguably the most high-profile butt monster movie ever. (Not that it's a long list.)
Ken Marino stars in Bad Milo as Duncan, a very stressed-out man. While he's very happy in his marriage to Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), his mother (Mary Kay Place) is pressuring him to have children. It also doesn't help that his mother's young lover (Erik Charles Nielsen), is very inappropriate to say the least. Things aren't any better at work, where Duncan has been removed from his simple job as an accountant, and been placed by his boss (Patrick Warburton) in charge of layoffs. This stress has caused Duncan to experience abdominal discomfort. This seemingly normal response to stress develops into something unexpected when a monster emerges from Duncan's rectum and begins to exact revenge on those who have wronged him. While the authorities blame a raccoon for the deaths, Duncan realizes what is really happening and must find a way to stop the monster.
As noted above, Bad Milo could have easily been a one-note Troma movie in which the fact that a monster comes out of a guy's butt is the film's one joke which it just keeps hitting over and over. (There was a movie made several years ago called Monsturd. Was that Troma?) The movie's raison d'etre could have been showing the monster emerging from the guy's backside. Co-writer/Director Jacob Vaughan and Co-writer Benjamin Hayes have attempted to take the high road with Bad Milo and made it more than just a butt monster movie. There is an obvious attempt to illustrate why Duncan is under so much pressure and we see how he gets it from all side. We never see Milo coming out of Duncan and Milo himself is...free from any clinging debris, which is a good thing. The film does show some gore when Milo attacks, or has attacked, but it's played mostly for laughs. We see that Duncan is in a caring relationship with Sarah, although she is one of his stressors.
However, despite these attempts at adding depth, Bad Milo is a butt monster movie and it can't escape this fact. Again, there are attempts to add depth to other parts of the story, but the movie really focuses on Milo (Duncan's name for the thing) and Duncan's attempts to control it. Duncan sees a therapist (Peter Stormare) and there is a lot of goofy talk about befriending the monster. While the other subplots melt away, we can almost hear the movie counting down the minutes until the monster emerges to run free once again. Vaughan attempts to keep the pace steady, but the movie becomes more and more one-dimensional as it progresses, and most viewers will have to fight to maintain interest.
The other issue with the film is the casting of Ken Marino. This alumni from "The State" gets a lot of work and if you've seen any of his recent films, then you know that he's often cast as a cocky, jerk. So, it's a change of pace to see him playing a milquetoast man who is put-upon by everyone around him. The problem is that I didn't buy Marino in that role, partly because of who he usually plays. He simply doesn't pull off neurotic and anxious in the same way that someone like Ben Stiller can.
I assume that Vaughan and Hayes deserve some sort of kudos for attempting to make a middle-of-the-road butt monster movie. But, therein lies the problem with Bad Milo. A movie like this needs to be way over the top or played so subtlely that one isn't sure what is happening. By being crude and gross, but not swinging for the NC-17 fences, Bad Milo becomes a film sort of lies there, waiting for something to happen. It's not fair to call the film boring, but it's certainly too tame for its own good. Someone give Bad Milo some Pepto-Bismol and let's put all of this behind us.
Bad Milo wants everything to work out in the end on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Magnolia Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 22 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. To get an idea of the level of detail on this disc, simply look at how we can see ever crease on Milo. The depth is good as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track highlights the noises that Milo makes as he sneaks around and these flow from the front and rear channels. This creates a sense of space and adds depth to those scenes. The attack sequences provide effective subwoofer and some nice surround effects.
The Bad Milo Blu-ray Disc contains a variety of extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Director Jacob Vaughan, and Writers Benjamin Hayes. The Disc contains one DELETED SCENE which runs about 1 minute and one EXTENDED SCENE which runs about 7 minutes. We also get an eight-minute reel of "Extended Outtakes". "The Puppeteers!" (2 minutes) offers a raw scene from the film where the puppeteers and their rods controlling the puppets have not been digitally removed. "Raw Take" (1 minute) offers two angles (side-by-side) of a scene in which we see Milo blow a take. "Interview with Ken Marino" (10 minutes) allows the actor to discuss the movie and his character. "AXS TV: A Look at Bad Milo" (3 minutes) is simply an extended trailer featuring footage from the above interview. The final extra is a TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long