(director/writer: Kevin Hefferman; screenwriters: Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Steve Lemme; cinematographer: Joe Collins; editor: Frank McGrath; music: Jason Akana; cast:  Brian Cox (Narrator), Steve Lemme (Quasi), Adrianne Palicki (Queen Catherine), Kevin Hefferman (Duchamp), Paul Soter (The Pope=Lucien), Eugene Cordero (Pascal), Jay Chandrasekhar (King Guy/Blouin), Gabriel Hogan (King’s Guard Jonathan), Erik Stolhanske (Cardinal Claude); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producers: John Cheng/Jake Stein/Richard Perello/Russell Simmons; Searchlight Pictures/Hulu; 2023)

“A mildly amusing film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

A mildly amusing film. It shoots for laughs despite its underwhelming script and with its mostly unfunny contemporary jokes, as performed by the gang from the Super Trooper movies. It’s set in 13th century medieval France.

Kevin Hefferman
(“The Slammin’ Salmon”) is director, co-star and co-writer, who takes the place of the troupe’s usual director Jay Chandrasekhar and proves to be the lesser director of the two.
Brian Cox, the sometime Broken Lizard collaborator, narrates. He tells us that the hunchback Quasi or Quasimodo (Steve Lemme), the fictional character from Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel, is a disfigured social outcast who works in the torture chambers of the obnoxious French King Guy (Jay Chandrasekhar). Quasi introduces “the rack”  to aid him in a cure for his physical defect.

Quasi’s cheerful friend Duchamp (Kevin Heffernan) tries to cheer him up by laying on him a Papal lottery ticket — and the torturer miraculously wins the prize of getting an audience with Pope Cornelius (Paul Soter). Ahead of that meeting, Guy invites Quasi to dinner and instructs him to assassinate Cornelius, his rival. At the dinner Quasi meets Catherine (Adrianne Palicki), Guy’s perceptive new queen, and she shows a surprising affection for the hurting peasant after she learns he rallies his fellow torturers for a protest over oysters.

Quasi when meeting the pope, receives orders to kill King Guy. The confused Quasi is in a bind, and after talking things over with Catherine decides to fake Guy’s death. But Duchamp, jealous of his friend’s new popularity with the royals, rats him out to Lucien (also Soter), the king’s torture-chamber supervisor, and Quasi’s arrested and given the death sentence.

It plays out as if an elongated SNL sketch, that was at times entertaining.

REVIEWED ON 4/24/2023  GRADE: B-