Zucker hops a ride on ‘Puddle Cruiser’

PARK CITY, Utah — Universal-based producer David Zucker has agreed to act as a presenter on director Jay Chandrasekhar’s comedy “Puddle Cruiser,” which is playing in the American Spectrum sidebar at Sundance. The Zucker imprimatur may prove to be the first step toward the film’s acquisition for theatrical distribution.

“Puddle Cruiser” is the debut feature from the Gotham-based improv group Broken Lizard, and the pic is a ribald look at the state of dating on today’s college campuses. While directors like Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone have lent their names to Sundance pics in the past such as “Naked in New York” and “Freeway,” the “Puddle Cruiser” deal is a first for Zucker, who together with his brother Jerry and partner Jim Abrahams created the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” sagas. The deal entitles Zucker to a percentage of the pic’s backend in exchange for underwriting any reshoots and cutting.

Zucker got interested after Creative Artists Agency sent him the tape. “This is a smart comedy and could find a ‘Clueless’-size audience,” said Zucker. “The guys from Broken Lizard remind me of the way that Jerry, Jim, and I started out doing low-budget work on movies like ‘Kentucky Fried Movie.”’ Zucker added that “Puddle Cruiser” would probably get some snipping. “None of our comedies run longer than 85 minutes,” he noted.

After the movie took the Hamptons Film Festival and the Independent Feature Film Market by storm, the Broken Lizard troupe (which includes Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske) received a pilot commitment from ABC. The director was repped on the Zucker deal by John Sloss of Sloss Law Office — the of-fice where Chandrasekhar got his start in the business as an intern after he graduated from Colgate.

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