Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Anyone who has seen either film version of Craig's previous script Death at a Funeral will immediately recognise the approach: madcap chaos at a family rite of passage. For a late-night screening when you definitely don't want to engage your brain, this approach might just keep you laughing. But sober audiences looking for an enjoyable comedy should steer clear.
At the centre are a blandly likeable couple, British David (Samuel) and Aussie Mia (Brent), who decide to get married. On the day before the wedding, David heads from London to Sydney with his three idiot friends: prankster Tom (Marshall), creepy Graham (Bishop) and the deeply depressed Luke (Draxl). While David meets Mia's establishment parents (Newton-John and Biggins) and rebellious sister (Wilson), his groomsmen get entangled with a seedy drug dealer (Le Marquand). Will they be able to sort out the mess before the marriage ceremony?
Director Elliott (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) tells this story with an odd combination of tourist-bureau style backdrops and full-on slapstick mayhem, most of which is centred either on sex or drugs. Yes, almost the entire cast gets high (some inadvertently) on coke, including the father of the bride's prize ram. And while Samuel and Brent remain largely above the silliness, poor Newton-John is thrown right in the middle of it as a flirtatious politician's wife.
Thankfully, some of the most obvious gags are avoided (or at least toned down), while Elliott distracts us with a terrific song score and a few relatively believable moments. Craig seems to think that inserting sex, drugs and violence into a family event is simply hilarious. But this only ever works if there's more to a character than one personality trait that's exaggerated for comical effect. Simply put: the more you push the humour the less funny it becomes.
Facts and Figures
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 26th January 2012
Box Office Worldwide: $29M
Production compaines: Screen Australia, Quickfire Films, Screen NSW, Parabolic Pictures, Stable Way Entertainment, Unthank Films, Story Bridge Films, Ingenious Broadcasting, Auburn Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 30
IMDB: 5.8 / 10
Cast & Crew
Director: Stephan Elliott
Producer: Antonia Barnard, Gary Hamilton, Laurence Malkin, Share Stallings
Screenwriter: Dean Craig
Starring: Rebel Wilson as Daphne Ramme, Xavier Samuel as David Locking, Olivia Newton-John as Barbara Ramme, Kris Marshall as Tom, Kevin Bishop as Graham, Laura Brent as Mia, Tim Draxl as Luke, Solveig Walking as Coconut Mist Girl, David Sullivan as Airport VIP Security, Elizabeth Debicki as Maureen, Jonathan Biggins as Jim, Oliver Torr as Kal, Steve Le Marquand as Ray, Angela Bishop as Channel Ten Reporter, Alan Cinis as Eddie Marshall
Also starring: Laurence Malkin