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A Few Best Men - Film Review

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by Matt Elliot Taylor (subscribe)
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
Event: -
Everyone wants to make their wedding day a memorable one. It is a joyous but nerve-racking experience for some but for a disaster-clad group of misfits it will certainly be a day they never forget in A Few Best Men.

Dave (Xavier Samuel) is a handsome young English traveller who loves the great outdoors. On a beach trip he meets the charming and innocent young Mia (Laura Brent) and they immediately fall in love and become engaged. Upon hearing the news of the recent proposal, his three friends Tom (Kris Marshall), Graham (Kevin Bishop) and Luke (Tim Draxl) react in different ways but agree to be his groomsmen. They travel to Australia to meet Mia's family - the overbearing power-hungry Father (Jonathan Biggins) and the repressed Mother (Olivia Newton-John) but then already brewing tensions become stronger when things begin to spiral out of control.

This very over-the-top disaster-comedy has a distinct sense of charm given the beautiful Blue Mountains setting and the elaborate design of the wedding and reception itself. This adds to the sometimes gross-out pickles the reckless groomsmen get into, but what makes it work is the circumstantial way in which it unfolds. Written by Dean Craig (Death At A Funeral [2007]), there are obvious similarities with that British comedy romp, but the addition of Australian acting icons Olivia Newton-John and also Steve Le Marquand as a bad-tempered drug dealer add a cross-cultured element to the comedy. The performances all-round are solid, with each giving their character a unique persona that could possibly remind you of someone you know.

While the film is so over-the-top, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert [1994] director Stephan Elliott handles the material economically, picking his moments of absolute hilarity. Highlights include Graham's cocaine-induced best man speech, and when the guys have to retrieve some of the drug-dealer's belongings from the stomach of the bride's Father's prized Ram, Ramsey.

The film has much energy and so feels quite short, plus with almost the entire story taking place at the wedding and reception it gives an impression that it's over so quick we need to comprehend everything that's gone horribly wrong including many little things scattered throughout subplots as well. Much of the energy comes from some good one-liners - particularly from Graham and a quirky 1970s soundtrack that are not the studio versions of the songs but implied as the reception band's setlist.

From its iconic Australian location to its down-and-dirty mishaps involving the groom's mates, A Few Best Men provides many laughs and while the jokes are somewhat predictable you'll enjoy the ride.

3.5 stars out of 5
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Why? A very funny disaster-prone romp in the Blue Mountains
When: January 26 (Aus)
Where: Your local cinema
Cost: Check your local cinema for details
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