By Jack Dignan
Originally Published on Salty Popcorn - You Can Find Several Other Reviews By Jack Dignan Here As Well
Australians have a strange sense of humour, and I mean that in the most sincere way possible. We’re an odd bunch, our comedy differing drastically from that of foreigners. 1997’s THE CASTLE is probably the most iconic of our comedies, up there with the likes of MURIEL’S WEDDING and CROCODILE DUNDEE. The thing with Australian cinema, however, is that no matter how many hits we make, a small handful of garbage comes with it. 2011’s A FEW BEST MEN was neither a hit nor pure garbage. It was simply… meh. After having seen that film, never would I have expected that six years later we would be getting a sequel to it, but here we are with A FEW LESS MEN.
Picking up mere moments after the last film, our three scumbag heroes, David (Xavier Samuel), Tom (Kris Marshall) and Graham (Kevin Bishop), are in search of their friend Luke after having fallen off a cliff in the first film’s closing minutes. As expected, Luke is dead. Very dead, as a matter of fact. Upon hearing the news, Luke’s brother Henry (Ryan Corr), a man with a short temper and even shorter patience, is, unsurprisingly, enraged. He demands they bring Luke’s body back home to England immediately, or else they’ll be joining their recently deceased best friend in the afterlife.
What should be an incredibly simple task takes a turn for the worst when David, Tom and Graham crash their plane down in the middle of Australia. They’re lost. And so begins the plot, with three men attempting to hitch a ride to the local airport while carrying around their dead friend in a coffin. I rarely regret going to see movies, even if they’re bad. Watching terrible movies can be fun, especially when it comes to reviewing them soon after. When it comes to A FEW LESS MEN, however, that was a film I most certainly regretted going to see.
The simple fact of the matter is that A FEW LESS MEN just really isn’t funny. There’s a few small chuckles here and there, mostly due to the sheer stupidity of the situations and unexpected un-comfortableness frequently found throughout, but not one of the jokes is memorable. I’m trying my hardest to delve deep into my memory and recall what some of the jokes I laughed at were, but none are coming to mind. As a matter of fact, not even any of the bad ones are coming to mind either. This is a film so poor and so uninteresting that it’s been but a week and I’m already struggling to remember it.
When this film reached it’s eighth ‘shart’ joke and umpteenth transphobic comment, that’s when I’d just about had enough. The humour isn’t smart or creative; it’s insulting and juvenile. During the screening last week, the cinema was full, and from this entire auditorium of people eagerly waiting for a good laugh, we all left disappointed. Well, all but one. There was just one lady sitting in the row behind me who couldn’t keep it together, and listening to her laugh her ass off proved to be far more entertaining than the film itself. She was certainly having a good time, and undoubtedly a better time than the rest of us were having.
As chaos ensures, and an overabundance of boner jokes are made, it won’t take long before you sit in your seat and ask yourself ‘is all this really happening?’ Australia may have a strange, often distasteful sense of humour, but was it ever this bad? A FEW LESS MEN was 92mins of agonizing pain for my eyes, ears and soul. It digs deep into the worst sort of humour possible, yet it seems sort of proud of that. It’s proud to be sexist and it’s proud to cross the line, seemingly without any regard for its audience’s wellbeing. The only time this film works is when it takes it back a notch, pleasing not necessarily a PC crowd, but at least one with a respectful sense of humour.
Despite being as mediocre as it was, A FEW BEST MEN had a surprisingly solid cast. It included the main three cast members here, while also bringing with it the welcomed additions of Rebel Wilson and Olivia Newton-John, amongst others. I was never too fond of the first instalment, as previously mentioned, but in comparison to its follow-up, that film is pretty damn great. The cast here is sub-par, the lead actors seemingly aware of this film’s terribleness and consequently giving weaker, uninterested performances. The only time they really work is during the film’s Church scene. Even their characters feel distant to what they were in the first film, a shocking achievement as they barely constituted as legitimate characters to begin with.
As for the newcomers, Aussie favourite Ryan Corr is the most recognisable face. But despite that recognition, this film feels below him. He’s starred in countless Australian films before, ranging from moving War drama THE WATER DIVINER to hit horror sequel WOLF CREEK 2, yet his performance in A FEW LESS MEN, while clearly a bit of fun to perform, is over the top and irritable. He’s just really not good, yelling and screaming his way to the closing credits. Shane Jacobson is even worse as Mungus, a scene best left unmentioned, and as for everyone else…. I don’t even know what to say. 95% of the female cast, as little of them as there are, are played out as sex objects with one goal in mind: sleeping with the main characters. It’s a waste of the entire cast’s time and obvious talent.
I’m always interested in Australian cinema, willing to head out and support them, but when it comes to A FEW LESS MEN, it’s one of the few times I’ll urge you not to go out and see it. This isn’t the type of Australian cinema you should be going out of your way to see, especially with plenty of other classics still awaiting you at home and soon to be classics currently playing in theatres everywhere.
1 1/2 Stars
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