Common courtesy is a concept that is…well, less than common nowadays. In fact it’s practically extinct. Now the mature thing to do in the face of rudeness, they say (whoever THEY are), is to turn the other cheek. BUT, on the other hand, how satisfying would it be to penalize someone for their rude behavior? Not whining about it on Facebook or Tweeting about it, or leaving a negative review on Yelp. I mean truly letting somebody have it in the manner you see fit.
Two brothers, Gordon and Martha, completely agree that the whole forgive and forget notion is not a viable option. Feeling that they have experienced a higher level of discourtesy, whilst dining out, than any two people should have to endure. These two believe that the time has come to teach these ill-mannered perpetrators a lesson…with coleslaw. Yes, you read that right, COLESLAW. Each of the impolite individuals responsible has been selected to “play a game”, in order to determine their fate. Live or die…it’s their choice, but if they don’t like coleslaw, death may seem like the better option.
When I considered the idea of a Saw spoof, this is not at all what I was expecting. Matt Green was responsible for translating the story, written by John Kap and Richard Tavernaro, (both of whom also had roles in the movie), onto the screen. Slaw is ridiculous yet humorous, and kind of all over the place. The story doesn’t merely focus on the group of surly captives and their survival based tasks. There is also an investigation into the disappearance of said captives by two conceited and oblivious detectives named Turner and Hooch…mmmhmmm, yep. There are also flashbacks, which show the events that served as the catalyst for the procurement of the “contestants” of this twisted little “game”. And of course there is a an abundance of that most disgusting, bottom of the barrel side dish, which just happens to be Martha’s favorite food (ugh), coleslaw. The story does tend to drag in spots and could have been balanced better. If it were paced right and the story not quite so condensed into its tight time frame, they could potentially expand on the story of this one film across two, possibly even three films, potentially creating a Slaw franchise.
The acting in general is over the top and zany. And while John Kap, as Gordon, and Aaron Beelner, as Martha, are obviously the focus, the cast tends to work as something of an ensemble. Their Mama and sister, who are actually the same character, was played by Berna Roberts. Don’t aske me about it, I don’t EVEN have an explanation…maybe there will be one if there is a sequel. Their father, Charles, who is just their father and NOT their brother (at least it was never suggested that he may have been) is played by Charles Belflower. Ronald Ogden, Leah Monet Johnson and Ozzie Carnan Jr. are a group of surly food service employees who perpetuate the idea of servers’ contempt for those whom they serve. They are joined in their confinement by Richard Tavernaro, Baby Norman and Niki Davis, as a trio of rude diners who can do nothing but complain about their fellow patrons. In the roles of the aforementioned detectives Turner and Hooch are Escalante Lundy and Michael E. Sanders. There’s also a fake Johnny Depp, fake Bono, fake Sammy Hagar, and a REAL Kevin Nash. Even Gregory Alan Williams makes an appearance as Police Commissioner Kelly. And let’s not forget Jeff Rose as the snooty and ever antagonistic maitre d, Padtrick.
There are no traps or devices that ar nearly as intricate as the ones utilized throughout the Saw franchise. There was also only one real display of gore. In fact only two trials involving any captives are even conducted, but the true horror is that they involved coleslaw…blech! However, if there should happen to be one or more sequels, then perhaps they’ll ramp up the effects and have cooler killing contraptions for their “contestants”…sorry for the alliteration.
Much like coleslaw isn’t for everybody, the movie Slaw might also not be. Frankly I found it to be humorous and entertaining. It’s strength lies in the fact that the filmmakers have no illusions about it being high art. A big part of the entertainment is found while following this path of ridiculousness and lunacy to its conclusion. I actually hope there is a sequel, just to see where they pick up from the ending. Godspeed, Kevin Nash. While coleslaw gets a –1,000,000 / 10 from me, I’ll give the movie Slaw 6.5 / 10.