The Toxic Avenger is about three times better than you’d expect—which, depending on your expectation level, puts it somewhere between painless and actually kind of . . . good.
Composer David Bryan and book writer/lyricist Joe DiPietro have salvaged an agreeably mindless piece of rock bombast out of a zero-budget 1985 horror flick. (Far scarier than the cult classic itself is the fact that this is the third attempt at musicalizing it.) Once again, nebbishy Melvin Ferd (Nick Cordero) falls into a vat of toxic waste, takes vengeance on one-dimensional goons—John Dods did the nifty gore effects—and canoodles with a hot blind chick (Sara Chase) willing to ignore the eyeball dangling halfway down her beloved Toxie’s cheek.
Bryan’s knowing pastiche score outpaces DiPietro’s tired lyrics, and director John Rando (Urinetown) once again relies heavily both on handicap jokes (many of them quite funny) and on scenery gnawing by the priceless Nancy Opel. Matthew Saldivar and Demond Green do almost as well by their own quick-change shenanigans; perhaps because they play one mere character apiece, Cordero and the game Chase butt up against their roles’ limitations more firmly. Still, compared with his fellow verdant behemoths from Young Frankenstein and Shrek, Toxie demonstrates that being green can be breezier, sleazier, and pleasier.