By Richard Haridy
March 5, 2014
Bad Milo is a high concept film that is much more fun to talk about than actually watch, as if director Jacob Vaughan had one amusing idea and was never pushed hard enough to expand it further. The admittedly gonzo premise introduces us to Duncan (Ken Marino), a white-collar everyman with some severe gastrointestinal upsets. One evening, after a particularly bad stretch of time on the toilet, Duncan discovers a nasty little monster living in his rectum and slipping out every so often to eat someone. His eccentric therapist, amusingly played by Peter Stormare, suggests the monster, quickly named Milo, is a literal manifestation of Duncan’s own anxieties and the only way to make it stop killing is to bond with it.
Conceptually, Bad Milo sounds like insane fun, but director Vaughan, along with co-writer Benjamin Hayes, treats the material with a deadpan seriousness that is ultimately incredibly frustrating. The idea of watching Marino argue with a giant haemorrhoid monster that has just popped out of his butt seems like a crazy must-see moment. Unfortunately, it comes across as flat and uninspired.
To the flick’s credit, the old-school puppet design and complete reliance on practical special effects over CGI gives Bad Milo a wonderful 80’s quality that serves to place the film in a lineage with such B-classics as Critters and Basket Case. Young composer Ted Masur’s Danny Elfman inspired score is also a major highlight and the exciting supporting cast is always watchable (Patrick Warburton, Kumail Nanjiani, Toby Huss and Stephen Root). The picture frighteningly under-uses the lovely Gillian Jacobs though, and that is a notable sin.
Bad Milo has a few showpiece scenes that you’ll tell your friends about. However, it never truly steps up into the excess the concept promises. Rather, it decides to take its deeply stupid narrative conceit incredibly seriously leaving you to ponder the allegorical meanings of a man who has a demon living up his butt. Bad Milo wants to be a really good “bad movie” but ends up being a really average “good movie” and no ass-monster story deserves that.
Bad Milo is now available on Quickflix.