When you think of producers the Duplass Brothers and director Jacob Vaughn, you probably think indie dramedies like Cyrus, The Puffy Chair, Safety Not Guaranteed and Jeff Who Lives at Home but what if you combined the sensibilities of those movies with an 80’s creature feature like Basket Case? That’s the basic premise of Bad Milo.
Ken Marino stars as Duncan, a mild mannered account who suffers from intestinal issues brought about by work and relationship stress. After a visit to a doctor doesn’t help, Duncan visits a new age therapist, played by Peter Stormare, and the two discover that Duncan intestinal stress is brought about a demon who lives in Duncan’s ass. Duncan names the demon Milo and tries to control and befriend him, while Milo attacks and kills everyone who angers and stresses out Duncan. Gillian Jacobs plays Duncan’s wife, Sarah, Stephn Root plays Duncan’s hippie dad and Patrick Warburton is Duncan’s crooked asshole of a boss. Mary Kay Place and Kumail Nanjani round out the cast as Duncan’s mom and her younger boyfriend.
With a premise of “a demon lives in a man’s ass”, Bad Milo is surprisingly low key most of the time. When Milo is unleashed, it’s incredibly over the top and violent but most of the time it’s a mix between awkward family situations and therapy sessions and Office Space style work scenarios, where Patrick Warburton forces Duncan into performing increasing awful duties at work. I was a little disappointed because I thought it was going to be a little more extreme and ridiculous and, while there were a few laugh out loud moments, it’s much more chuckles, although, as you might might expect from the premise, there’s lots of toilet humor as well. It also kind of wants to have a dramatic side, as Duncan struggles with his fears of being a potential father since his own father abandoned him and tries to surpress his anger and stress, which just results in Milo coming out harder and angrier. A lot of the humor also, surprisingly, doesn’t come from Marino or Jacobs, who are both hilarious in their roles on Children’s Hospital and Community respectively. To put it terms of something like, Arrested Development, Marino is usually a Gobesque character but he is much more like a Michael and is the straight man to the supporting cast and Milo. Jacobs doesn’t really have that much to do in the movie until she has to be rescued from Milo’s wrath in the climax.
One of the best parts of the movie is Milo himself, who is a fantastic throwback to classic practical creatures like the Gremlins, the Ghoulies, etc. I would have liked to have seen him develop a little bit more of a personality, there’s only one great scene where Duncan and Milo are at a motel where Milo’s personality gets to shine as they argue about what to watch on TV or what to eat. Most of the movie he’s only either bizarrely cute or pissed and biting.
The venn diagram between cheesy 80’s horror fans and indie comedy fans seems like it would have a tiny overlap but if you fall into that group, you’ll probably enjoy both sides of Bad Milo. It’s definitely not for everyone and you definitely have to be in a certain mindset to watch it. If you’re a fan of the actors and like the low key style humor mixed with horrific violence, you might want to check out Bad Milo on VOD or DVD/Blu Ray when it comes out.