Likeably stoopid, the latest from comedy troupe Broken Lizard (Super Troopers, Beerfest) mines plenty of jokes from eating out and being served. In hock to the Yakuza, former heavyweight champion Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon (Michael Clarke Duncan) offers $10K to whichever server at his titular upscale Miami seafood restaurant brings in the biggest take of the night; the loser will be rewarded with a bruising from the Champ (bouts won: the Fracas in Caracas, the Dispute in Beirut). Dressed in ties and the same hue of royal-blue shirts worn by TSA employees, the wait staff flatters and flirts with cameo diners Will Forte (as a solo eater hogging a two-top), Vivica Fox (as a singer named Nutella), and Morgan Fair-child (as herself). The fratty humor (plot points that pivot around bowel movements, mild gay panic) is minimal, dominated instead by a zippy screwball energy that nails the frenzy familiar to anyone who ever bussed tables, fought for tips, or smiled through the rage of bringing food to impossible-to-please jerks. The set, assembled on a Van Nuys soundstage, may have cost the same as an order of Red Lobster's garlic-cream jumbo shrimp, but Duncan's terrific timing and inspired Tracy Jordan–isms transform the dinner-theater vibe to dinner as theater.
Duncan is king of his restaurant.
Opens at Uptown, Fri., Dec. 11. Rated R. 98 minutes.