A Few Best Men

Fri, Aug 31, 2012, 01:00

Directed by Stephan Elliott. Starring Xavier Samuel, Laura Brent, Olivia Newton-John, Jonathan Biggins, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop, Tim Draxl 15A cert, gen release, 96 min

What does a poor old studio do if it doesn’t have a wedding comedy for the summer? It’s a dilemma. The Hangover and Bridesmaids proved that confetti and vomiting is an irresistible combination. Imagine the embarrassment if the sunny months pass and your company fails to cash in on the relevant demographic.

Here’s a solution. You just buy one off the peg. A Few Best Men has made its unwelcome way to us from the shores of Australia. Grey top hats off to you, chaps. This stomach-churningly dreadful film proves that our friends in the Southern Hemisphere can scrape corners of the barrel inaccessible to even the most fetid American imaginations. It might just be the worst film of the year to date.

Where to begin? Well, you have to love the early scenes during which four English blokes – one groom and three groomsmen – contemplate the upcoming nuptials in Oz from a hilariously unconvincing recreation of London. What’s that noise they hear while drinking in their (ho ho) rain-soaked back garden? Why it’s Big Ben. That’s right. All Londoners live within spitting distance of Westminster Bridge. If I have this right, most Australians have a view of Uluru from their lavatory window.

Anyway, things really deteriorate when the three supposed poms (two of whom have pronounced Aussie accents) touch down in the promised land. Various archetypal subplots from lads’ comedy have, in the manner of scrabble played by drunks, been drawn blindly from a bag and flung haphazardly at the blameless screen. A sheep is dressed as a lady. A big bag of drugs goes missing. Somebody throws up in his lobster dinner.

We can forgive these outrages. We can forgive the woeful acting. But we can’t forgive what they’ve done to Olivia Newton-John. Caught up in the film’s appalling tonal inconsistency, poor ONJ begins as a slightly racy potential mother-in-law, before ingesting a sack of cocaine and turning into a monster of botoxed lasciviousness. It’s like watching your nicest maiden aunt doing something procreative with a surprised postman. Leave the poor woman alone, you jerks.

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