Bad Milo Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Directed by Jacob Vaughan
Written by Benjamin Hayes and Jacob Vaughan
2013, 80 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 20th October 2014
Ken Marinio as Duncan
Gillian Jacobs as Sarah
Patrick Warburton as Phil
Peter Stormaire as Highsmith
Never have I been so disappointed by a movie about a man with a bloodthirsty monster living up his arse. Bad Milo takes this intriguing concept, an excellent cast and solid visual effects and then proceeds to piss most of that promise up the wall.
His girlfriend wants a baby. His mother is dating an obnoxious young hipster. His slimy boss has put him in charge of company redundancies. To say that poor Duncan is stressed is an understatement. On top of that, he's suffering from severe stomach problems. What looks like a polyp in his bowels leaves him in agony every night, often to the point of passing out. What's actually happening, however, is the emergence of a murderous monster from his ringpiece, which sets about slaughtering those who have irritated Duncan during the day. It's like The Hulk, or Jekyll and Hyde, except 'Milo' is a separate entity. A very unpleasantly separate entity.
I had high hopes for Bad Milo, a black comedy starring the likes of Gillian Jacobs, Patrick Warburton and Peter Stormaire alongside a dangerous butt-dwelling demon. Done right, it could have been a cross between Viz magazine and Dreamcatcher (the last horror film I saw about things emerging from asses). This, however, is neither one thing nor the other. It's not as funny, gory or crude as it should be, its story feeling like a procession of wasted opportunities from beginning to end. Case in point, Warburton and Jacobs. It takes a special kind of ineptitude to hire the wonderful Patrick Warburton and then not have him shout at anybody. The man's voice is built for bellowing, and yet the most Bad Milo has him do is whisper malevolently. Jacobs is similarly wasted as Duncan's girlfriend. Coming fresh from a marathon of Community box sets, I had hoped to see much more from the actress than she gets to do here. Hers is one of the most two-dimensional characters in the film, not giving Jacobs the chance to utilise any of the talent that makes her Britta Perry (six seasons and a movie!) so loveable. Another Community alumni shows up early in the film, but he too is wasted – literally, being the first to die.
None of which is to say that Bad Milo doesn't have its moments. It is consistently amusing and mostly well-acted (Stormaire's bored coasting not withstanding). Ken Marino is a likeable protagonist, looking suitably put-upon throughout. Little rubber Milo might not be the most believable special effect, but it's still preferable to CGI. Besides, I found the little shit (because he comes from out of a bottom, geddit) adorable. The film struggles whenever it requires Milo to do anything more than stand still or be cuddled by Duncan, but the dodgy effects are all part of the charm. Had it the energy and wit of Gremlins, its duff special effects wouldn't be too bad. Alas, partnered with the strangely slow pace, lack of flair and flat story, it's just another thing that the filmmakers failed to get right.
Still, it's hard to truly dislike a film about a melon-headed monster who lives up a man's backside. For all of its flaws, there's a sense of passion to the filmmaking – that Jacob Vaughan and co-writer Benjamin Hayes were trying to make something other than just another low-budget crapfest (no pun intended). In that, they've succeeded. Bad Milo may not be as funny or gruesome as it should be, but it will play well to an audience – especially those who have had just a few too many beforehand. Bad Milo may be a disappointment, but it doesn't deserve to be flushed without a trace either.