Duncan is an average guy who works at an average office job. But he starts to get pains in his stomach whenever he feels stressed out. Things get worse every time he tries to just hide his stress, by burying it inside. It all comes to a head when that "stress" is turned in to an actual little beast that exits his body via his butt and takes revenge on the things that stress him out. But it soon starts to threaten the one thing he loves, his wife.Written by
Michael Hallows Eve
As I was watching BAD MILO again the other night, I thought of what might be the best analogy to describe this low budget horror/comedy: it's an engine that keeps on revving but never kicks into gear. To qualify it as a horror/comedy probably isn't the best description because, in the end, it didn't really have much of either. I suppose it could best be viewed as a drama about one man's father issues and his coming to grips with the idea of his own pending parenthood. But that's not as fun as the premise that baits the audience into sitting down for the movie: Duncan is a man with problems. His job bites. His boss is a douche. His mother's new relationship with a considerably younger man weirds him out. And, to top it off, he's been dealing with intense stomach pains and frequent bathroom visits for as long as he can remember. When a doctor tells him the stomach problems stem from his poor stress management, Duncan begins seeing an eccentric psychiatrist and the truth soon emerges. Literally. From his butt. You see, Duncan is possessed with some sort of ancient mythological creature that dwells in his lower intestine and erupts from his butt whenever someone stresses him out to kill the aggressor. Now, Duncan learns he must make peace with his literal inner demon if he wants to end its murderous rampage before it hurts someone he loves. But mostly, it's the father issues thing. Don't let the butt demon stuff fool you.
I really hoped that a movie about a killer butt demon would be more fun, but BAD MILO actually has quite a few stretches where nothing of interest happens and my attention starts to phase out. When Milo finally arrives, we don't get nearly as much fun with him as I expected. I'm sure it has a lot to do with budget limitations and how much they were capable of doing with the puppet. But the audience knows what to expect going in when the main draw is a rubber puppet monster. This is no time to be self-conscious. Give us the puppet! Instead we get a lot of drama as Duncan struggles to grow a pair and stop letting life stomp all over him. I wanted more chaos, more puppet-on-human violence. By the time it's all over, Milo actually kills less than a handful of people and two of them occur off-screen. We finally get the full-bore puppet attack at the end of the film but by then I was hardly interested in what was happening on screen. BAD MILO, as a retro creature feature, is full of wasted potential. The main attraction doesn't get enough screen time and, when he's there, he's doesn't get much to do other than growl or give puppy-dog eyes to melt Duncan's heart. Violence is mostly limited to bloody messes but we get a little bit of gore when Milo attacks a smug fertility doctor. There just isn't much in the way of scares or gross-outs so marketing this movie as a horror film might've been a mistake.
The film fares a little better on the comedy end with a funny cast saving this movie from being a total loss. Ken Marino is Duncan, our man with the butt demon. I've not been a huge Marino fan, but I don't exactly have much to go on. He was the most irritating character in WANDERLUST, but he also had some of the funnier bits in WE'RE THE MILLERS in what little time he was on screen. Here, Marino is the straight man and he sort of reminds me of Jason Bateman. Despite being a weaker movie, it's probably one of the better Marino performances I've seen. His wife is the beautiful Gillian Jacobs but she doesn't get much to do other than react to Marino's bathroom antics and provide a crucial bit of plot development late in the game. She's a good sport through it all and she gets to have some fun in the climactic battle. The supporting cast steal the show in BAD MILO with Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Toby Huss, and Kumail Nanjiani. Huss establishes a hilarious tone in the opening scene as the doctor who misdiagnoses Milo as a polyp in Duncan's colon but the movie fails to maintain the humor, though not for lack of trying from Nanjiani as Duncan's new father-in-law in a great dinner scene. Stormare is Duncan's hippie psychiatrist and Root arrives late in the game as Duncan's estranged biological father, but most scenes that don't involve these characters fizzle out. I really enjoyed Milo as a character, bouncing from vicious killer to precocious toddler, and I dig the retro rod- puppet they used to bring him to life. Part of me wouldn't mind a future low budget sequel to continue the tale of Duncan and his unnatural family heritage because BAD MILO had some promise and I think there's still comedy (or horror) fold to be mined from it but, as it stands, BAD MILO was somewhat of a disappointment with a couple little comedy gems scattered inside.
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