Release year: 2013
Director: Jacob Vaughan
Screenwriter: Benjamin Hayes, Jacob Vaughan
Starring: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Mary Kay Place, Claudia Choi, Toby Huss, Patrick Warburton, Peter Stormare
Duncan suffers from severe stomach problems and has done so as long as he can remember. When his job becomes too stressful, the stomach problems get worse and Duncan discovers that the reason he has problems is because there is a monster living in his intestines. A monster who for some reason is very angry at the people stressing Duncan.
This horror comedy treads a fine line between being utterly ridiculous and funny, but though the line is extremely close at times, it actually manage to stay on the funny side. It is disgusting at times, which I guess is hard to avoid considering where the monster lives, but the story is surprisingly sweet and deeper than I expected from a movie about a monster living up a man’s ass. Ken Marino (Wanderlust, 2012) does a great job as the struggling Duncan, a nice guy who tends to let people step all over him, especially his boss, a greatly casted Patrick Warburton, who leads to his problem reaching a point at which he is forced to stop and make changes in his life. The theme of stress as something that ruins peoples lives is obvious, but Duncan’s issues from a childhood with an absent father are also raised. Issues that rise to the surface during therapy, where the always entertaining Peter Stomare (Armageddon, 1998) gets to shine as Duncan’s therapist Highsmith, his subtle humour adding some balance to the toilet humour. When Duncan first encounters him, he sees him as something of a nut job, but he ends up being his backbone when things get weird. Gillian Jacobs is good as Duncan’s much tested wife, charming and supportive, with a tendency to put pressure on her husband. Mary Kay Place and Kumail Nanjiani deliver some of the more awkward moments of the movie, as Duncan’s mother and her new and younger boyfriend, suggesting he calls him dad one moment while strongly hinting about his active sex life with his mother the next. The awkwardness their relationship brings to the story, works because it never gets to take up too much time. Luckily the monster has been brought to life with the use of puppets instead of computer effects, my experience is that when the budget is tight, you get a much more convincing monster by going old school. Milo, as the monster is called, is equally creepy when flashing his sharp teeth as cute when calm and blinking his huge black eyes while cooing. Though he is in the titel and obviously plays a big part, this movie is about Duncan and his trouble controlling his stress and his life, which is probably the reason the weakest scenes in the movie, are scenes where the focus is away from him.
It took two puppeteers to control Milo, one controlling his body and the other his facial expressions.
If you want to watch the movie yourself, you can get it here:
Picture copyright: Magnolia Pictures