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TWO LITTLE BOYS

SYNOPSIS:
When Nige (Bret McKenzie) finds himself in a spot of bother after a series of unfortunate incidents involving a hot meat pie, a ginger cat and the untimely death of a Scandinavian soccer star, he is forced to ask his best friend Deano (Hamish Blake) for help. The problem is Deano is not really the kind of guy you should turn to in a crisis. The friendship begins to fray ...

Review by Louise Keller:
The major flaw in this decidedly black New Zealand comedy with a tasty sense of the ridiculous is that the central odd-couple relationship at the film's centre is never properly established. As a result, instead of caring what happens to Nige (Bret McKenzie) and Deano (Hamish Blake), we become irritated by their constant bickering and puerile dialogue. Even the deliciously twisted aspects of director Robert Sarkies' screenplay, co-written with his brother Duncan, tend to fall flat without a solid base on which to be grounded. There are some redeeming features however, namely an appealing performance by Maaka Pohatu as Gav, the lovable dope-smoking fat Maori security guard, as well as eye-boggling panoramic views of New Zealand's stunning scenery.

The film starts well with an attention grabbing sequence in which three little pieces of bad luck in the wee small hours - involving a broken headlight, a hot meat pie and a stray ginger cat - puts wimpy Nige (McKenzie) in a tricky situation. The subsequent acts of desperation that form a cover-up of the unfortunate demise of a visiting Norwegian soccer star Jeurgen (Filip Berg) plays out in true farcical fashion. The fact that Nige calls upon his manic former flat-mate and best friend Deano (Blake) to help him in his hour of need is explained in a series of flashbacks. Instead of establishing their bond, we have to be satisfied by being told they have been best friends for 15 years, 7 of which they were roommates. The fact that Gav replaces Deano as Nige's best friend becomes the source of irritation to Deano; helping Nige deal with this middle of night crisis is the perfect opportunity for the border-line psychotic Deano to redeem himself.

The frenzied, bloody acts of desperation that follow as Nige and Deano try to cover-up the crime fall progressively flatter as Nige, Deano and Gav make their way to the beautiful, tranquil, isolated Catlins coast. The rugged coast with its splendid sunsets, waterfalls and native animal life are shown to great advantage. Music is also well used with short snippets of pertinent songs, including the title song that was made into a hit by Rolf Harris in the 1970s. McKenzie forms half of popular musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, while Blake forms half of Australian comedy duo Hamish and Andy. It is a shame the screenplay is not better grounded, so the elements of what might have been a delicious black comedy could be realised.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TWO LITTLE BOYS (MA)
(NZ, 2012)

CAST: Bret McKenzie, Hamish Blake, Maake Pohatu, Filip Berg, Russell Smith, Erin Banks, Jarin Towney, Charlie Britzman, Ian Mune

PRODUCER: Vicky Pope, Timothy White

DIRECTOR: Robert Sarkies

SCRIPT: Robert Sarkies, Duncan Sarkies

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jac Fitzgerald

EDITOR: Annie Collins

MUSIC: David Long

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jules Cook

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 15, 2012

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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