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  Bad Milo! A Pain In The Ass
Year: 2013
Director: Jacob Vaughan
Stars: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Mary Kay Place, Claudia Choi, Toby Huss, Patrick Warburton, Erik Charles Nielsen, Peter Stormare, Kumail Nanjiani, Steve Zissis, Jake Broder, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Nick Jaine, Dee Baldus, Diana Toshiko, Stephen Root
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Duncan (Ken Marino) races through the streets, desperate to reach the house of his mother (Mary Kay Place) and get his wife Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) to safety - but what is he trying to protect her from? He bursts through the doors and starts yelling as whatever it is hammers on them, but it's just too strong and smashes through... One hundred and twenty-three hours earlier, Duncan was simply another guy with stomach problems, so had been to see a doctor about them only to be told he had a large polyp in his intestines. He wasn't happy about this news, but was relieved something could be done about it, a basic operation will see him right as rain, and the doctor related the condition to the stress Duncan was suffering.

Which is nothing compared to the stress he suffers when he discovers that it's no polyp he is cursed with, but a more active problem. As many observed, Bad Milo was a throwback to a rubbery kind of eighties horror movie, most obviously Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case and Brain Damage, if you can envisage that crossed with the sort of bottom-based shocker Stephen King was attempting with Dreamcatcher and its subsequent film version. That wasn't meant to be a comedy but made audiences laugh anyway, yet it was perfectly all right to find this chucklesome as director and co-writer Jacob Vaughan had intended it as a comedy, as if to point out to King, well, what else could it be?

Duncan's body issues are indeed related to stress, but not in the manner he would expect. There is indeed an object inside him which is actually a small demon, and when it emerges in painful-sounding defecation sequences it goes on a mini-rampage to get its own back on the people who have made its host so upset. The gory consequences see the victims' injuries blamed on a rabid raccoon, but really it's the critter who gets named Milo by Duncan when he sees a hippy dippy psychiatrist (Peter Stormare) and is invited to name it to better cope with the dilemma. What this tapped into was something many comedies around this era did, the feeling that the modern male was being constantly undercut by everyone else, forcing him into a corner.

That corner sees him feeling impotent in the face of solving his problems seeing as how all those around him appear to have the upper hand and exploit him for their own gain: that sense of helplessness might make them wish to lash out, but more likely it'll have them crumpling under the weight of pressure. In that way, Bad Milo! was a wish-fulfilment for the man emasculated by society, and few were able to bring that out in a comic setting quite as well as Marino, a veteran of such roles on television, while remaining pathetically sympathetic. Duncan had his boss (Patrick Warburton) walking all over him, his mother and her new boyfriend (Kumail Nanjiani) boasting of a more adventurous sex life he and Sarah ever dreamed of and hiring a fertility doctor (Steve Zissis) to see about getting grandchildren.

The psychiatrist pins the blame on Duncan's daddy issues, and his absent father (Stephen Root) is paid a visit where his son barely manages to prevent Milo from killing him, ending up stained with shit in the process since it was that kind of film - the hero truly was put through the wringer, and the further his misery ground on the more ludicrous this got. To emphasise the parallels between Duncan's little friend and his lack of children with Sarah (who is the most reasonable person in his life, Jacobs essentially the straightwoman to the gags which was undervaluing her a little), bizarre analogies are made between Milo emerging from his anus and a perverse parody of childbirth, yet another way he is taken down a peg or two from his supposed position of power in society by its galloping conventions. Naturally, this exuded "pity the white man" complaints in a manner that suggested films appealing to that potential audience had to go to absurd extremes to connect with them, though could just as easily be seen as an outrageous spoof on the whingers. Music by Ted Masur.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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