Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review - Bad Eggs (2003)

“Yep; I smell fuckwits.”

Director: Tony Martin
Starring: Mick Molloy, Judith Lucy, Bob Franklin, Alan Brough
Writer: Tony Martin

I suffer from the cultural cringe when if comes to Australian movies. I’m not sure what it is but I tend to be down on movies that try to be distinctly Australian, especially when distinctly Australian means milking the aussie cliché for humor. Personally I think this is a cheap way to try and distinguish ourselves in the world cinema, and that as a country we are capable of unique story telling in movies without going for the cheap laugh. So with that said does Bad Eggs, fall into this trap? Let’s find out.

Bad Eggs is the Australian take on the cop movie, and mainly looks at how mundane the job can be while still have the beats of a detective story. There is some low key humour as well as some over the top scenes. As a comedy movie it’s trying to walk a balanced line but sometimes just comes across as a little bit of a mess in the humour department. Still at its core this movie is written by a man who knows a thing or two about comedy, and I think the jokes hit more than miss.

Acting wise we have Mick Molloy as Ben Kinnear, and already we are at a hurdle. Mick is a good comedian, and I thought he was wonderful in Crackerjack, but while this movie is a comedy it also requires some seriousness to come through to make the cop portion work. Honestly Mick is too laid back for the role. Bob Franklin as Mike Paddock on the other hand is perfect. Believable as a cop, funny as hell, he is the balance this movie is striving for in human form. He also works well off Mick and the two do share great buddy chemistry. Finally Judith Lucy as Julie Bale is another who I wouldn’t normally believe, but she brings such fire to her character I can see her easily in an authoritative role. More a foil to Mick’s character she does have a few scenes to shine but is mostly in the background.

Tony Martin isn’t anything special when it comes to directing, but he is competent and occasionally has the odd flourish. In this movie I did like the flashback scene, where both Ben and Julie see their past in more action movie terms. The visuals in the rest of the movie seem very clean, precise; it’s hard to put my finger on it. I think the idea was to try and make the world as mundane as possible, so when the characters or scene went mad cap it was more pronounced, but this does mean the weight of the movie is on the shoulders of the actors to entertain, and if they are off there is a chance the audience will just be bored.

There is an attempt here to bring American sensibilities to an Australian cop drama, and show that Australia is never going to have these epic cop tales. There are some very Australian use of language and clichés present but it’s never so much that I get the cringe. In this regards the movie is successful as by making the distinctly Australian in some regards, it shows the stupidity of the American movie beats.

It’s hard to recommend this movie. I love it, I own it, but it is flawed, and the tone may just not work for people. I think it’s an ambitious movie that just doesn’t quite do it. Maybe with more time and some other actors it could have succeeded in what it was trying to accomplish. If you are after an Australian movie there are better out there, but I don’t think this is the worst movie to experience, maybe just rent it out and see.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who hates it when Australian films try to "over Aussie" themselves. If I wanted to see bogans and living stereotypes, I would go to Loganhome - not pay good money to see them on the screen.