It’s usually not a good sign when a comedy has to resort to toilet humor. However, when the entire premise is based around toilet humor, then the rules probably have to be rewritten a bit. When it’s a horror comedy about a demonic ass monster running around killing people, screw the rules altogether. Bad Milo is a fun and funny throwback to some classic ’80s fare such as Gremlins and Critters, with the most lovably homicidal product of an anus running around this side of the Excremental, or that freaky little fakir bastard from the “Badlaa” episode of The X-Files.
The story centers on Duncan (Ken Marino), a beset-upon corporate accountant whose stress from his job, and his mother’s expectations for grandchildren have caused him to experience very bad colon problems. Her marriage to an idiotic and crass Indian, Bobbi (Kumail Nanjiani), who is Duncan’s age, and her staging an ambush with an asshole fertility doctor at dinner only add to his travails. Additionally, a deeper-set issue from his father (Stephen Root) having been an absent deadbeat all his life certainly hasn’t helped. Duncan is frequently doubled over in pain when the stress mounts and his spending over an hour a night on the toilet is becoming the norm.
When Duncan and his wife, Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), consult a gastroenterologist, Dr. Yeager (Toby Huss), he finds what he thinks is a polyp in his colon. He tells Duncan that it’s probably a result of his bad handling of the extreme stress and that he’ll go in (i.e. up Duncan’s pooper) and remove the polyp. In the interim, Duncan has to learn how to relax. But that proves impossible when he finds out that not only has his office at work been moved to a former bathroom with an annoying cube mate named Alistair (Erik Charles Nielsen), but his boss, Phil (Patrick Warburton), has tasked him with laying people off or face being laid off himself. When Alistair deletes a critical document off of Duncan’s computer at work, he’s overcome by his worst gastro attack ever and passes out from the pain as something emerges from his ass. Later, that something attacks Alistair and turns him into a bloody mess that used to be Alistair. The police attribute it to a rabid raccoon.
Duncan’s colon problems worsen, so he sees an unorthodox therapist, Highsmith (Peter Stormare), to handle his stress. They soon discover that the source of Duncan’s colon problems are a monster that Duncan names Milo and that emerges from his ass and kills people that cause him stress. Highsmith deduces that Milo is an embodiment of Duncan’s subconscious and that he can’t be killed for fear of lobotomizing Duncan. Rather, Duncan must bond with Milo, to keep him from killing anyone else, and Milo must reside in Duncan’s colon. From there it’s a series of hilarious attempts (some successful, some not) of Duncan trying to maintain his stress levels and attempting to bond with Milo or risk a source of annoyance to Duncan getting killed badly.
Bad Milo is quite funny, featuring a hilariously distressed performance by Ken Marino, some humorously quirky supporting characters and a monster that’s probably soon to become a mini classic. Milo looks something like Blarp from Lost In Space would if you shoved him up someone’s ass for thirty years. What’s better, he’s a practical puppet rather than some CGI bullshit. He’s a hairless, shit-covered Crite or a bad, lower colon reject from The Gate. Describe him how you will, he’s the strangest embodiment of Mr. Hyde you’re ever likely to see. Duncan is Bruce Banner with a very messed up Hulk lurking inside him.
It’s a cinch that talent like Patrick Warburton, Stephen Root and Peter Stormare are going to be bankable, and that’s no different here. Warburton plays Phil like Bill Lumberg as an even bigger asshole, Root gets his best counterculture hippie loser going, and Peter Stormare is simply great as the nutball therapist, Highsmith. There are also good turns from other supporting cast such as Kumail Nanjiani as Bobbi, an imbecilic sex maniac stepfather with no filter who probably wouldn’t have any problem porking Duncan’s mom in front of him. The fact that he can do it without slipping into another tired Indian stereotype is a minor miracle. Steve Zissis is a fertility doctor, Dr. Yip, with no sense of boundaries whatsoever. And Erik Charles Nielsen as the fat, schlubby idiot, Alistair presents a prime target to whom you’re hoping Milo gets.
Co-writer / director Jacob Vaughan has put together a fun, irreverent, gory and disgusting comedy that doesn’t disappoint in its absurdity and execution. It’s got the right amount of quirkiness in its characters, likability / revulsion from his title character and complexity in its core issue. Milo isn’t just some random creepy crawly that can be dispatched. Instead, he’s a stomach-turning look at our internal demons, except in this case it’s quite literal. The fact that Duncan can’t simply kill Milo opens up a bunch of clever new avenues upon which Vaughan capitalizes. The complexities of Duncan’s trying to befriend something that looks like the lovechild of a hemorrhoid and a great white shark (he’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes) and keeping him from killing everything in sight definitely make for the funny.
Bad Milo is available On Demand August 29 and in theatres October 4.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars