Tom Doty Times Columnist
March 14, 2014
A stressed-out, white-collar worker seeks help for a stomach disorder, only to learn that his anxiety has taken a monstrous form and is secretly exiting his body to devour his enemies in this unique horror/comedy.
The story begins with Duncan visiting his socially-challenged physician. This quack has the bedside manner of a Jerry Lewis character, but even the French wouldn’t like this guy. Turns out, Duncan has an odd shape lurking in his colon and the good doctor reveals that it is a very strange sight and will have to come out … next visit.
Now the poor guy is really in distress, and it doesn’t help matters when his boss, Phil, gives him a new office (a poorly converted bathroom), a nosy suck-up office mate, and a new assignment — firing a string of employees.
The home front is even worse. His mother is on him and his wife, Sara, to give her grandchildren. She is a bit pushy about the subject, with no sense of barriers. She invites a smarmy fertility doctor to a dinner party so he can grill Duncan on a checklist of sexual disorders that may interfere with conception. This line of inquiry makes for some awkward dinner conversation, especially when Mom’s new husband begins droning on about his sexual prowess over dessert.
The pressure of the day flattens Duncan. He passes out on his bathroom floor and misses the biggest surprise of them all. A nasty-tempered creature (that has been living in his bowels) decides to vacate the area and go in search of the people that are stressing out his home. This is bad news for the office mate, who winds up splattered all over their cubicle. It’s also unfortunate for the local raccoons, as the death is attributed to a rabid member of their species.
Surprisingly, no one guesses that the killer is a demonic imp that crawled out of our hero’s buttocks. Raccoons continue to take the hit. A therapist is able to get the creature to pop out by hypnotizing Duncan. He convinces his patient to name it Milo, and then make friends with it.
Things get better for a bit, but eventually Duncan must confront his feelings about his deadbeat dad if he is ever going to make progress. What comes up during their group therapy is not covered in any Psych 101 textbooks. We learn that dad left because he had an imp in the same southern spot (which proves that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, especially if it is nestled in the intestinal tract).
It all leads to a major showdown between Duncan and Milo at a dinner party, during which Sara has announced she is pregnant. Milo wants Duncan all to himself and the resulting smackdown threatens to destroy everyone Duncan loves, unless he can find a way to disable Milo and get him back inside his colon. This scene is not for the squeamish, or anyone who has a problem inserting suppositories.
This could have been a sophomoric 80 minutes of bathroom jokes, but the film takes the high road (as much as a movie about a monster from one’s alimentary canal can soar). This is really about a guy making peace with being abandoned by his father so he can regain control of his life. However, the path they use to tell this story is an odd one.
That said, they pull it off thanks to an excellent cast of comic actors who play the material with a straight face. Patrick Warburton (Putty on “Seinfeld”) is the boss from hell with a haircut that’s even worse. Toby Huss (who played The Wiz on “Seinfeld”) is hilarious as the doctor who flunked bedside manners, while Stephen Root all but steals the movie as Duncan’s dropout dad with a posterior demon of his own. Hats off to Ken Marino (“We’re the Millers”) for playing Duncan with a straight face while all of this chaos erupts around him.
You’ve never seen a film like this one, and I venture a sequel will not be forthcoming, despite an ominous final shot inside Sara’s womb. That said, the producers could easily borrow the sub-title from “Highlander 2” and call it “The Deepening.”
Best line: “You’ve got a little trooper in your pooper.”
2013, rated R.