Bad Milo! Jacob Vaughan

Bad Milo! Jacob Vaughan
8
A loving homage to macabre comedies of the '80s like Gremlins and Critters, Bad Milo! amps up the silliness and adds an unexpected tenderness in reviving a fun brand of creature feature that's been sorely missed. The story of a man who has a monster living in his ass starts out as a wonderfully twisted take on a prototypical horror film before switching gears to daringly explore the outlandish concept as an inner struggle for the ages.

Duncan (Ken Marino) is under a great deal of stress. At work, his boss (Patrick Warburton) has put him in charge of firing people and relocated him to an office that is clearly a repurposed bathroom. At home, he finds himself under a great deal of pressure from his mom (Mary Kay Place) to finally impregnate his wife Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) and make her a grandmother. Not to mention how his doctor chalks up his severe intestinal problems to a "thing" that is growing in there.

He finds out the true extent of his condition one night when he finally passes out from the pain and something climbs out of his butt and murders a co-worker. A visit to a kooky hypnotist (Peter Stormare) reveals that the culprit is a strange creature with big eyes and a docile demeanor that can explode into murderous fits with his razor-sharp teeth. Duncan names him Milo and becomes increasingly attached to the little guy, even as Milo continues to kill those who wrong Duncan.

One of the reasons this all works so well is that Milo is an expressive and well-designed creation that's been brought to life using a practical puppet rather than CGI. He's a reminder of how the hand-made and operated inventions that once dominated the culture thanks to Jim Henson are charming because of, not in spite of, their imperfections. Marino is also fantastic in a difficult role, displaying a comic range and underlying sadness reminiscent of Bill Murray.

A commentary track on the disc with cast and crew establishes its loose and free-wheeling tone early on when Marino takes a huge rip from a bong. There is then much discussion from the director and co-writer about early drafts of the script that were altered due to budget constraints; Jacobs correctly assesses how each and every one of the changes seems to have worked out for the best. Among the other supplemental material are some outtakes and an extended dinner scene that prominently features the comedic brilliance of Kumail Nanjiani.

(Video Service Corp.)