Stephan Elliot’s 2012 wedding comedy A Few Best Men attempted to transplant Death at a Funeral-style British farce to Australia. Juvenile and dismally unfunny it was a painful experience to sit through. Astonishingly, we now have a sequel to that film. A Few Less Men now directed by Mark Lamprell but still scripted by the first film’s writer Dean Craig is a slight improvement on its predecessor but is still depressingly unfunny.
Here the brainless buddies from the first film David (Xavier Samuel), Tom (Kris Marshall) and Graham (Kevin Bishop) find themselves in a Hangover-style nightmare when the fourth member of their group Luke (now played by James Helm) is killed by a very fake looking boulder in the Australian outback. Desperate to get his body back to England lest they incur the wrath of Luke’s violent psychopath brother Henry (Ryan Corr) the three remaining members of the group find every possible way of stuffing up the mission including crashing a plane and misplacing the body.
This film welds quirky Welcome to Whoop Whoop-style Australiana to The Hangover, Horrible Bosses raunch comedy template in which irresponsible idiot friends bumble their way into a disaster. Even the character types recall those Hollywood films with the Xavier Samuel the Jason Bateman-like sympathetic everyman, Kris Marshall the Jason Sudeikis-style smarmy sleaze ball and Kevin Bishop the squeaking Charlie Day-style bungler who constantly lands them in trouble.
Much of the attempted humour involves infantile dick jokes, mocking difference in eccentric people and what seems to be an ill-advised homage to Weekend at Bernie’s. There are a few brief flickering moments of amusement when the characters begin to turn on each other and engage in typically British banter which suggest the writers had at least glanced at a Ricky Gervais comedy.
Shot in the Australian outback there are inevitably some stunning locations although the film’s cheap, grimy look doesn’t do justice to the environment in which it’s filmed.
Xavier Samuel as the least obnoxious member of the group does a reasonable job of making David the sane centre of the film. Also, Ryan Corr does a vaguely amusing Tom Hardy impersonation as the crazed Henry; exactly why he dresses like a 80’s yuppie, however, is never explained. Some well-known Aussie actors make ill-advised cameos in this film with Shane Jacobsen a seemingly friendly truckie whose character ends up as a grotesque sexual stereotype. Deborah Mailman has a little more impact playing against type as a particularly unfriendly cop. Darren Gilshenan is slightly amusing as a creepy Mick Taylor-like character who refuses to be rushed by the frantic English lads who beg for his help. Sacha Horler also appears briefly as a local ranger.
Youngsters wanting to see something a bit naughty might get a kick out of A Few Less Men but any adult who values cinema should avoid it.
Nick’s rating: *1/2
Director(s): Mark Lamprell.
Release date: 9th Mar 2017.
Running time: 92 mins.
Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM. Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show
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