Ben Kinnear (Mick Molloy) and his colleague Mike Paddock (Bob Franklin) are undercover detectives with the Police Force’s elite Zero Tolerance Unit. When a series of freak accidents involving a dead magistrate and a house fire occur, Ben and Mike are relegated to uniform duties. Furthermore, they are disgraced publicly by front page articles by Ben’s ex-squeeze Julie Bale (Judith Lucy), who was also once a cop, but now is a reporter with a taste for revenge. But when Ben discovers a strange link between the events and a shady casino boss he and Mike have been investigating, they decide they can no longer turn a blind eye to the corruption that is rife among their colleagues, headed by Inspector Ted Pratt (Bill Hunter).
Review by Louise Keller:
You beaut! Droll and dry with an occasional whiff of inspiration, Bad Eggs is a fun fantasy fling in which Mick Molloy sheds his Crackerjack bowling apparel for a gun, a partner and a girl. While I admit to being one of the few who found Crackerjack less than funny, I am pleased to report that I enjoyed Bad Eggs, with its understated central comic pairing of Molloy and Bob Franklin and unlikely expose of a corrupt police unit. Molloy and Franklin play it very straight and the humour comprises chuckles rather than side-splitting guffaws. The opening scene works exceedingly well, when the handbrake of the Mercedes carrying the body of a high court judge is accidentally released, allowing the car to veer and steer itself down the dead (pun intended) straight street and into a shopping centre where it sinks beneath the bubbles in a fountain, when our friends Ben and Mike make a rather unfortunate error of judgement. This is indicative of the kind of humour to expect in this gentle Australian film that relies on its quirky humour, zinging situation comedy and some comic lines that are funny only in context. Tony Martin’s script has that laid-back kind of humour that suits the players perfectly, and Molloy and Franklin make an amusing couple, made all the more interesting by the fact that Molloy plays his Ben in a ‘she’ll be right’ sort of way, while Franklin’s very English Mike brings another slant. Their rather unconventional tactics to obtain the top secret information required to expose the corrupt cops is nicely conceived, and by the time the security guard discovers the surreptitiously replaced video tape that shows images of the football game instead of the monitored high security chamber, we have already willed our friends to succeed and pull the wool over his eyes. Judith Lucy (Nancy Brown from Crackerjack) is feisty and engaging as Bob’s former partner (at work and at play), who leaves valued items in high ‘n obtuse places, while Bill Hunter scowls up a black storm as the wickedly corrupt head of the force. The notion of corruption in the highest of places is taken to its logical conclusion and watch out for Robyn Nevin in a cameo as Eleanor Poulgrain. The storyline naturally ties up all the loose ends and I love the closing sequence which involves a cocktail shaker, a couple of olives, martini glasses and a smooth tune from Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, that allows a running gag of a specialist nonsensical alphabet to be properly fulfilled.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Encouraged by Crackerjack, perhaps I expected too much from Bad Eggs, a scrambled idea, hiding humour inside a bent cop scenario, all set in Melbourne – which, it should be said, does not have a monopoly on corruption. Mick Molloy’s often understated humour would have worked better, perhaps, had the filmmakers played the whole thing straight, with Molloy and his very Pommy sidekick as earnest but accident prone. The other problem with the script is that it sets up these hapless undercover cops as bozos, but then turns them into smart operators who are more than a match for the State's top cop, his army of willing bent cops with machine guns, and the Premier. Yes, I realise it isn't meant to be taken seriously, but that's the point: the film does. They become heroes, and there is even a happy/smoochy romantic ending to Sinatra crooning Where Or When (great song, wrong place.) Screen comedians generally work better as underdogs, victims, losers: Charlie Chaplin, Jerry Lewis, Tim Allen, Steve Martin, etc. There are a handful of good laughs, though, and the preview audience I saw it with especially liked the opening gambit; so did I. But then the tone shifts and shifts again, as if the storyline had taken control of the writing process, elbowing out the sense of humour. Judith Lucy remains the one immovably comic object, both in terms of character and dialogue, pointing to the promise I was hoping to have fulfilled. It’s a mildly entertaining film in the end, and while it plays a little slow, it maintains interest. Lastly, I love the music, especially the Spanish guitar motifs; I just wish it had been played to a blank screen; it neither fits nor counterpoints the film. It just isn’t right.
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DAVE GRANEY & CLARE MOORE INTERVIEW by Brad Green
BAD EGGS (M)
CAST: Mick Molloy, Bob Franklin, Judith Lucy, Alan Brough, Bill Hunter, Marshall Napier, Steven Vidler, Nicholas Bell, Shaun Micallef, Robyn Nevin
PRODUCER: Stephen Luby, Tony Martin, Greg Sitch
DIRECTOR: Tony Martin
SCRIPT: Tony Martin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Graeme Wood
EDITOR: Peter Carrodus
MUSIC: Dave Graney, Clare Moore
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carrie Kennedy, Ben Morieson
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 24, 2003
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: November 26, 2003