Written by Diane Tillis
Broken Lizard is the comedy group composed of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske. I recognized the group as the minds behind the films Super Troopers (2002) and Beerfest (2006). They decided to return to their comedic roots and go on tour in this DVD comedic show at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, California. The five men would take turns to perform a solo sketch. It allowed the audience to distinguish them as individuals. In between each solo, anywhere from two to all five of the comedians would perform a group sketch. The sketches would be related to a shared experience or be a re-creation of a social event such as Susan Boyle’s introduction on Britain’s Got Talent.
The entire show is based around themes of masturbation, college memories, and adventures in pot smoking. It was as if this group of 40-something men had a mid life crisis and decided to go on tour because they thought we would find it funny too. Twenty minutes into the show, I just did not care anymore. The audience reacts strongly to the mere presence of the comedians as they enter the stage, but this is the loudest they will ever get. About the same time I became disinterested, I noticed the audience was more interested in beer consumption than the show. The comedic timing was completely off, lines felt forced and dull. For instance during Steve Lemme’s solo performance, he tells another masturbation story involving pigeons, and at the final punch line no one laughs.
The comedy show is presented a1.78:1 aspect ratio. However the color levels leave a lot to be desired. Lighting is also an issue; the black level is higher than expected, which impacts the quality of the video. I suppose the crew filming the show decided not to use any additional lights.
The DVD uses the Dolby Digital 2.0 sound system which does the job well. No problems understanding every piece of dialog or the background sounds of the audience laughing (when they do laugh).
The special features are all ‘behind-the-scenes’ featurettes that would benefit only those who are fans and/or follow this troop of comedians.
Super Trooper Sketch is a sketch of the comedians acting out their characters from Super Troopers with audience interaction.
On the Road with Broken Lizard is a series of video clip collections of the troop in various situations. For instance the first situation is the gathering of clips of Jay Chandrasekhar greeting whatever city they happen to be putting on a show for. Apparently he always says how much he loves that city over all others.
The Outtakes is simply a collection of outtakes from the El Rey show.
From reenacting male masturbation stories to an encounter with Patrick Swayze, I kept getting the feeling that “I guess I needed to be there.”