Not all moviegoers may know about Broken Lizard, the comedy troupe made up of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske. This group of friends produces, writes, and acts in films like Super Troopers and Beerfest, with the first two usually directing. This information is important because Quasi, directed by Heffernan but starring the rest of the gang, isn’t your typical flick. Despite adapting the familiar story The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, this movie still contains the peculiar vision of the Broken Lizard team.
Quasi is yet another satirical comedy that doesn’t follow the common “rules” of cinema, so its target audience may be limited. For example, the setting of medieval France isn’t a barrier for contemporary references, which invite jokes about attitudes and behaviours across the ages. Quasi is little more than a set of harmless sketches made by people who simply want to have fun with a camera, period-piece costumes, and a few special effects. Quasi is one of those silly flicks characterized by a particular type of humour that appeals to a specific audience with a certain disposition.
There’s a good chance, too, that Quasi will offend many viewers who don’t bring the requisite mindset. Misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, and all kinds of discriminatory jokes are around every corner. Stereotypes are dialed up to eleven through ridiculous accents and exaggerated delivery. Even scenes featuring bullying and torture play with a light touch — how times have changed!
But let’s face it: nobody watches Quasi expecting to see the best film of the year. It’s irreverent, seemingly low budget silliness from the Broken Lizard crew. They all play double roles and have natural chemistry, with Adrianne Palicki (John Wick) perfectly in on the joke.
As a satire, though, doesn’t really say enough to stand out. It’s mostly an assortment of sketches, some of which are funnier than others. The screenplay clearly departs from the original Victor Hugo story, but it doesn’t offer a fresh perspective, either.
Quasi works well as rainy-day streaming entertainment to provide an hour-and-a-half of mindless silliness. Broken Lizard teams up once again for myriad satirical sketches created by friends with the sole intention of having fun and little else. I recommend it to fans of the comedy troupe, but they aren’t aiming high enough to hit the mark for anyone else.
Quasi is now streaming on Hulu/Disney+.