Oh goodness me. How bad can a comedy get? If this is Australian cinema’s answer to The Hangover, they have, in my opinion, succeeded on some levels. A Few Best Men features a collection of vile and unlikable characters, a relaxed attitude to illegal drug use, and a nasty underlying current of homophobia. Unlike The Hangover, however, it was far from a box office hit.
Twilight’s Xavier Samuel plays a Londoner who falls in love with a beautiful Australian girl (Laura Brent). He and his group of idiotic mates (played by Kevin Bishop, Kris Marshall and Tim Draxl) go over to his love’s home country. Predictably, the stag night ends in chaos, and the wedding even more so.
It’s a shame that the script is so atrocious, as Samuel does actually show a flare for comedy (and puts on a fairly convincing English accent). Bishop and Marshall come off less well, sadly. They also come over as quite a bit older than their young Australian co-star (indeed, Marshall is 40 years old). In some ways, it’s a little sad to think that Samuel is a rising star trying new things, whereas Marshall, flirting with middle-age, hasn’t gone much further than his role of Nick in BBC comedy My Family. Indeed, he practically plays the same role here, only with less laughs.
The jokes, as indicated, frequently and regrettably rely on the audience finding it hilarious that there are some men that – guess what! – like to have sex with other men. Or that the idea of Oliva Newton John wandering around high as a kite on cocaine is a genius comic device. Or a scene involving a goat swallowing drugs is side-splittingly hilarious.
The film is at its worst when we are treated to a mobile phone video of the central guys tormenting the aforementioned confused animal by blowing cannabis smoke into its face.
When you throw everything this film possesses into the mix, all one really has is a sorry, pathetic comedy that so desperately wishes it was a bunch of movies that have already been made. Meet the Parents, Father of the Bride, The Hangover. You name it, it’s emulated.
The Hangover may have been loathsome, obnoxious nonsense, but at least its lead actors were convincing in their roles as odious, misogynist idiots. The guys in this movie struggle to even do this. Maybe they are just too nice in real life and are quietly embarrassed by the content they have agreed to perform. One can only hope.
A Few Best Men (2013), directed by Stephan Elliot, is released on DVD by Walt Disney Studios, Certificate 15.