“Broken Lizard’s Club Dread” is perfectly titled: It’s so dreadful you want to bash its disagreeably unfunny characters with a club.
This is loud, boorish, cheesy filmmaking at its worst, a surprising slide for the five-man comedy troupe Broken Lizard, which wrote and starred in the amusing 2002 cop farce “Super Troopers.”
Aiming for a medley of humor and horror, the Lizard boys achieve neither with “Club Dread,” a splatter-genre spoof set on a tropical resort where a madman with a machete is hacking apart the randy, party-hearty staff.
The limited-acting range of the troupe — Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske — was well-suited to the more stoic gags of “Super Troopers.”
“Club Dread” makes it clear the gang should leave raucous and manic slapstick to better physical comedians.
And just how Broken Lizard got Bill Paxton to debase himself with an embarrassing role as Coconut Pete, a Jimmy Buffett-style one-hit wonder, is the most puzzling thing about “Club Dread.”
The story takes place on Coconut Pete’s Pleasure Island as a new boatload of young, boozy hardbodies arrives for sex, drugs and more sex. An unstoppable slasher immediately begins to prey on the resort’s employees, lopping off heads and skewering torsos.
Suspicion falls on other staff members, including Putman (Chandrasekhar, who also directs) as a dreadlocked tennis coach with a bad British accent; diving instructor Juan (Lemme); the island’s “Fun Police” zealot, Sam (Stolhanske); druggie Dave (Soter), who is Coconut Pete’s nephew; Lars (Heffernan), the new masseur with magic fingers; and fitness guru Jenny (Brittany Daniel).
The characters are not remotely interesting or likable, the dialogue is dreary, witless babble and the comedy and horror gags are commonplace.
“Club Dread” finally coughs up a halfway funny, if gruesome, sight gag near the end, when the killer does Jason Voorhees of “Friday the 13th” or Michael Myers of “Halloween” one better as he keeps impossibly coming back for more.
But you know you’re on a bad comedy trip when one of the funniest exchanges features Coconut Pete arguing with an island guest that his big pop hit was called “Pina Coladaburg,” not “Margaritaville.”