Workplace comedies can be pretty hit or miss. There are classics like Office Space and Clerks that seem to live on timelessly, even as our strange world becomes stranger. Then there are movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop that attempted to take jabs at a certain occupation and fall flat on their face, and then somehow get a sequel. (There were some pretty great memes to come out of Paul Blart though.)
The restaurant industry has its fair share of workplace comedies, ranging from feel-good rom-coms like No Reservations to incredibly intelligent and accurate movies like Jon Favreau’s Chef. It even has its own comedies that are just plain bad (Waiting… anyone?) But when it comes down to it, there is one restaurant comedy that is so perfectly absurd and lovable, it simply blows the rest out of the water. I am talking about Broken Lizard’s The Slammin’ Salmon.
The basic premise of this over-the-top comedy is that former heavyweight champion boxer Cleon “Slammin” Salmon, played by the great Michael C. Duncan, owns a Miami Seafood restaurant and after getting tied up with the Japanese Yakuza, needs to make $20,000 quick. Cleon proceeds to pit his loyal (and not so loyal) waiting staff against each other in sales contest in which the winner will receive $10,000 and the loser will be pummeled mercilessly by Cleon. This leads to an all-out war between the servers to win the contest for their own reasons, resulting in sabotage, bribery and the like in order to win the money and avoid a beating.
The movie features all five recognizable and hilarious guys of the comedy group Broken Lizard (Also known for Beerfest and Supertroopers.) All of which deliver their regular zany roles. But the film is really pulled together by Michael C. Duncan, whose role is an inept and downright mean restaurant owner who really doesn’t give a shit about his staff. Sound familiar to anyone?
Although the film can be funny to any person who has never even worked in a restaurant, it does a very good job of playing on regular restaurant bullshit you’ll encounter any day you clock in and put your smile on. My favorite of which is the lone man who sits at a booth, reading War and Peace and drinks nothing but water. The cheap camper is something any server or bartender can relate to, and reading War and Peace in one sitting at a seafood restaurant is just hilarious to me.
Overall, if you have ever worked in a restaurant, you need to see this movie. You may not like it, but I don’t care. If nothing else you get to see Michael C. Duncan knockout a swordfish with one punch, that alone should be worth your time.