Ben Stiller will play Fred Mumford, a recently deceased guy determined to be more productive as a corpse than he was during his life as a slacker. He attempts to set himself up in a business with a couple of other ghouls, starting a temp agency for the dead. Mumford and cohorts rent out ghouls and ghosts to the living, until things go awry. The original series, created by Bob Block, ran on BBC1 from 1976-1984.
In the horror comedy ‘Hell Baby,’ a young expectant couple moves in to New Orleans most haunted fixer-upper and calls upon The Vatican’s elite exorcism team to save them from a demonic baby. Lennon and Garant will portray that team.
Another horror-ish film that played Sundance this past week was Hell Baby, which come from uber-prolific screenwriting team of Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911″, Balls Of Fury, Night At The Museum) who shared directing duties this time out as well.
In the film, “An expectant couple moves into the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans – a house with a demonic curse. Things spiral out of control and soon only the Vatican’s elite exorcism team can save the pair – or can it?” Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Keegan Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel star.
Ryan Daley caught up with the film at the fest and, despite its comedy all-star cast, didn’t find a lot to love. “Readers of B-D may feel the movie is partially redeemed by its titular birth scene, a gore-drenched affair with its roots firmly planted in The Evil Dead. But even with all the funny face-splattering, Hell Baby never fully recovers. It simply tries too hard to accomplish so little.”
Check out his full review here.
It’s been hard to wrap my head around the audience reaction to Hell Baby, which had a bunch of Salt Lake City locals braying with laughter at a recent Sundance screening as I sat there in stoic silence. Intermittently raunchy and repetitive, the horror-comedy boasts a hip cast of talented comedians from a handful of edgy TV shows –– Children’s Hospital, The League, STSF:ST:SUV, Reno 911! Hell, they even managed to land half of Key and Peele. But hip edginess doesn’t come easy to Hell Baby, and at times the cast strains so hard for comedy it’s like watching a woman going through a breech birth. Willing to push the envelope only so far before backing down, it’s a movie that always seems to be trying harder than it actually is. If an entry in the Scary Movie franchise had well-timed intercourse with your average Sundance film, Hell Baby would be the result.
Although its “sketch show” plot can be defined as “loose” at best, Hell Baby’s central storyline belongs to Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb, a pair of soon-to-be parents who have moved into a busted-down house with a questionable history. Corddry attempts to quell his wife’s concerns by comparing their gang-tagged home with the works of street artist Banksy, but it doesn’t take long before the pregnant Bibb is possessed by an unseen force.
Meanwhile, a pair of Spanish priests (writers/directors Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, both from Reno 911!) are dispatched to investigate the household, as are a pair of sarcastic cops (Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel). Keegan Michael Key (Key and Peele) shows up as a local squatter who frightens random characters by suddenly appearing in frame, an endlessly repeated gag that stops being funny inside of about eight minutes. Michael Ian Black drops by for a one-joke scene as a therapist wearing too-snug, dong-defining bicycle shorts. And Riki Lindhome, of Last House on the Left and “Garfunkel and Oates” fame, spends about a half hour oiling up her naked body in a dialogue exchange with Corddry that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.
And frankly, the vast majority of Hell Baby goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing. Which wouldn’t be an issue if every member of the expansive cast wasn’t straining so hard for laughs. And perhaps that’s the problem. In trying so desperately to shoehorn this eclectic herd of comedians into one production, filmmakers Garant and Lennon forgot they were making an actual movie and not a special Halloween episode of Mad TV. Readers of B-D may feel the movie is partially redeemed by its titular birth scene, a gore-drenched affair with its roots firmly planted in The Evil Dead. But even with all the funny face-splattering, Hell Baby never fully recovers. It simply tries too hard to accomplish so little.
Madagascar and Megamind director Tom McGrath will be making his live action debut with the Ben Stiller (pictured above) vehicle RentaGhost, based on the British comedy series about a temp agency for the dead.
Per Variety, “Animation director Tom McGrath is looking at the afterlife and in talks to direct Fox comedy ‘RentaGhost,’ starring Ben Stiller. Project would be McGrath’s debut directing gig in live action. It would also re-team Stiller with McGrath, who co-directed all three “Madagascar” toons, in which Stiller voices Alex the lion… Kevin McCormick (“Gangster Squad”) is producing through his Langley Park shingle with BermanBraun’s Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Patrick Pidgeon. Andew Mittman is co-producing.”
Stiller boarded “RentaGhost” last fall for Fox, which had acquired the comedy from Warner Bros., where Russell Brand had been set to star. Fox has tapped the Night at the Museum team of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant to pen the script.
The original BBC series, created by Bob Block, ran for 58 episodes between 1976 and 1984 and centered on the recently-deceased Fred Mumford being determined to be more productive in the afterlife than he was during his 27-year existence. Mumford established RentaGhost — renting out ghouls, ghosts and other specters — to the living but things do not go according to plan.
Darko Entertainment and Principato-Young Entertainment announced today that Rob Huebel (The Descendants), Paul Scheer (Piranha 3D), Riki Lindhome (The Last House On The Left) and Keegan-Michael Key (Due Date) are joining the cast of Hell Baby. The film marks co-screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant’s feature film directorial debut. They join the previously announced Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, Warm Bodies) and Leslie Bibb (7500, Midnight Meat Train) in the film.
In the horror comedy “A young expectant couple moves in to New Orleans most haunted fixer-upper and calls upon The Vatican’s elite exorcism team to save them from a demonic baby. Lennon and Garant will portray that team.” The film is an original script from the multi-hyphenates Lennon and Garant, who have written nine feature films together including Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Taxi, Reno 911!: Miami, Balls of Fury, and The Pacifier. They are currently writing Rentaghost for 20th Century Fox and Ben Stiller.
Even if I’m not a huge fan of Lennon & Garant’s moneymaking screenwriting behemoths like Night At The Museum, I respect the frankness with which they address those paycheck projects (which pay them a lot) and the other, funnier, stuff they’re more passionate about. I find Lennon particularly hilarious on camera as well.
Hell Baby started filming today in New Orleans.
Darko Entertainment and Principato-Young Entertainment announced today the companies will produce Hell Baby, which will mark co-screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant‘s feature film directorial debut. Darko Entertainment will finance the film. Rob Corddry (pictured below; Warm Bodies) and Leslie Bibb (pictured above; 7500, The Midnight Meat Train, Trick ‘r Treat) have signed on to star. The film is set to start production on location in New Orleans in April.
In the horror comedy Hell Baby, “A young expectant couple moves in to New Orleans most haunted fixer-upper and calls upon The Vatican’s elite exorcism team to save them from a demonic baby. Lennon and Garant will portray that team.”
The film is an original script from the multi-hyphenates Lennon and Garant, who have written nine feature films together including Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Taxi, Reno 911!: Miami, Balls of Fury, and The Pacifier. They are currently writing Rentaghost for 20th Century Fox and Ben Stiller. READ MORE