How on Earth does a movie like 2011’s A Few Best Men get a sequel? It was a poorly received Aussie/English co-production directed by Stephan ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert‘ Elliot that failed at the box office and struggled on home-entertainment. While it boasted a curious cast (including Xavier Samuel, Olivia Newton John, Kris Marshall and Rebel Wilson) it struggled to recreate the situation comedy of errors that its writer, Dean Craig, had previously nailed in Death at a Funeral. It was, for the most part, another mediocre comedy that one would expect to disappear into the abyss of time.
Never mind the fact that some “creative” thought that a second instalment was even necessary, it seems more concerning to me that Australian money has been invested in such a stagnant and arduous mess when so many deserved filmmakers are begging for funding. I guess there is some solace in the fact that a percentage of the money came from the UK.
A Few Less Men picks up immediately after the events of the first film, where one of the main characters plummets off the edge of a cliff at his best mate’s wedding. This moment is recreated in a dully animated introduction sequence that steps off on the wrong foot by testing the audience’s patience. The three lead characters from the original movie return, and to hell with continuity. They look older and they’re groomed differently to when we last saw them (which, in movie land, was only moments ago), and their fourth friend (the one who fell) is played by a new actor who bares ZERO resemblance to the previous guy. Upon surviving the fall, he is killed by a falling rock. With the deceased’s psychopathic brother awaiting their arrival in London, the three friends race against time to get the body home. Their journey finds them surviving a plane crash, being raped by a grandma and being held captive by a cross-dressing truck driver.
What ensues is a puerile string of dick and fart jokes that make the first movie look like a Blake Edwards production. The story is a mish-mash of randomly selected scenarios that have been stitched together to fulfil some misguided quota of vulgarity, rather than to serve as a means of story and character progression. To be clear, this particular brand of comedy is not lost on me; I can think of countless examples of films that successfully deliver cheap laughs to maximum effect. So, I approached A Few Less Men with the level of expectation that it deserved – the lowest. I may still have expected too much.
There is little to say about the cast and its performances, other than the fact that each of them offers the bare minimum. With an excruciating script from Craig, they deliver one nauseating joke after another and successfully induce boredom where laughter was intended. A new string of guest players find themselves scattered throughout the movie, including Shane Jacobson, Lynette Curran, Jeremy Sims, Ryan Corr and Debra Mailman. Their presence is sporadic and, for lack of a better word, stupid, with each of them insulted by desperate and pathetically “outrageous” material that lacks genuine humour. 10 year olds might laugh at this stuff, but the audience I was part of certainly did not.
A Few Less Men marks a new low point for Australian comedy, and it baffles the mind to think that we continuously repeat the same mistakes. Our homegrown cinematic landscape is full of wonderful comedies, but it is also littered with unimaginative and unfunny ones that appeal to the lowest common denominator. This sorry excuse of a movie belongs on the same garbage heap where past films like Wog Boy, Take Away and The Wannabes rot.
I should note that this stinker does appropriately bookend itself with fart jokes, and for that, has been rewarded with one solitary star out of ten. Rubbish!
THE REEL SCORE: 1/10