The boys of Broken Lizard are back at it with, in this chef's opinion, a hilarious ensemble restaurant comedy, The Slammin' Salmon. Set in "Cleon’s Slammin Salmon", a high end seafood joint in Miami, Florida. Cleon Salmon is a former heavy weight champion boxer. His restaurant is themed around his career.
The basic plot involves a contest between the wait staff. Whoever makes the highest sales of the night wins. The higher the sales the more likely the champ will be able to pay his twenty grand debt he owes the Japanese mob. If salmon pays his debt by the end of the night he can keep his eatery. The prize for the wait staff begins as a pair of Nora Jones tickets. Due to a lack of enthusiasm, the manager played by Kevin Heffernan (who also directs this movie) is forced to up the ante.
The workings of the restaurant are surprisingly accurate with a few exceptions. There were times I found my self thinking "who is watching their tables while they have this long conversation" and "someone run that food, it's getting cold." The array of customers to dine at The Slammin Salmon are fairly typical of posh restaurants, couples on dates, boyfriends about to propose, sport teams, movie stars, overdemanding pop divas and single dinners "camping" in a busy section are all represented. As a cook I was slightly disappointed by how little of the action takes place in the kitchen. Chef Dave played by Broken Lizard veteran Paul Soter does a great job of portraying an angry kitchen tyrant, scoffing at allergies and enraged by food sent back.
If you have seen the other works from Broken Lizard you know to expect raunchy jokes and very foul language. BL regulars Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Erick Stolhanske and Steve Lemme all put in great performances on par with Super Troopers. Will Forte does well in a small but important role as the solo lingering diner. Cobie Smulders from TVs' How I Met Your Mother is adequate as a medical student waiting tables to pay the bills. The show is stolen however by Michale Clarke Duncan in the role of Cleon "Slammin" Salmon. A kind of mishmash of all heavy weight boxing stereotypes. The character and Duncan's portrayal are knockout punch hilarious.
To be honest after finding BLs' Club Dread only mediocre I assumed Slammin' Salmon would not be all that good. To paraphrase Cleon Salmon "Never assume because when you do...you make an asshole out of yourself."
"Although not perfect, I found the movie well paced and full of good jokes. The Chef recommends The Slammin Salmon, Three and one half Knives out of five. Bon appetite
This is the story of a restaurant owned by a former heavyweight champ, Cleon Salmon. He has exuberant tastes and a penchant for the exotic. He goes albino hunting in China, owns property on the moon, has a kangaroo and a horse which he names S.S.Fudgalicious. He loses a bet and now owes $20,000. He makes his staff at the Slammin' Salmon sell their hearts out to earn the money and they use every trick in the book to up-sell and outsell each other in a fierce competition with the loser getting a broken rib sandwich.
Right from the start, I thought the opening scene was a bit misleading. I mean, of course you do get dicks like this, but it was a bit over the top and unrealistic. I was afraid that the rest of the movie was going to be the same old same old, full of clichés and tired jokes about working in the restaurant industry. While most of it is like that, I still couldn't help but enjoy this movie.
For those who work in the industry, you'll recognize the usual and familiar cast of characters; like the angry murderous chef who demands waiters tell their customers to "Fuck Off" when they don't like his food, students earning their way through school, actor/model wannabes, a crazy owner, cheapskate celebs and one guy sitting at a four-top...alone...drinking hot water with lemon.
The acting and writing were good all around, with Michael Clarke Duncan (the black guy from the Green Mile) stealing the show with his hilarious comedic performance. He plays an over-the-top ex-boxer who now owns a restaurant. At one point he confesses that he is not a numbers man, he hits people for a living. As for accuracy and originality in the depiction of the service industry, I'll say it was marginal. I mean the IN and OUT doors are on the wrong sides!
I would recommend this movie to anyone in the industry or otherwise. It was funny and I did laugh and by the end of the movie you really like everyone and you root for them. Don’t expect an Oscar-worthy movie, it won't enlighten you or make you think profoundly, it's just a light and funny flick that you can waste an afternoon on.