A Few Best Men
With The Hangover franchise milking the likes of Las Vegas and Thailand for gross-out gags and culture clashing comedy, its new US/Aussie rip-off has been left with the slightly less inspiring Antipodes as the backdrop to its derivative wedding hijinks. Subtract the a-list cast, shave a few million off the budget and exchange the drug-monkey and celebrity tiger for a sheep in drag and you’re left with A Few Best Men. It’s safe to say that hilarity was never going to ensue.
Having fallen in love whilst holidaying on Tutuila Island, backpacker David Locking (Samuel) asks Mia Ramme (Brent) to marry him before he has to return to the United Kingdom. With no immediate family, David invites best friends Tom (Marshall), Graham (Kevin Bishop) and The Other One out to Australia for the wedding. While David introduces himself to Mia’s parents (Jonathan Biggins, Olivia Newton-John) and sister (Rebel Wilson), Tom tracks down a local cannabis dealer in search of supplies for the groom’s stag party. Accidentally picking up the wrong bag on their way out, the friends find themselves on the wrong side of a drug lord as the Locking/Ramme wedding is thrown into chaos.
It’s not every day that you’re made to miss Zach Galifianakis whilst watching a movie. As hateful and annoying as the man is, he at least knows his set-ups from his punch-lines. Say what you like about the Wolf Pack in general, for that matter, but they’ve successfully carried two mediocre comedies to blockbuster glory, sky-rocketing their own careers in the process. If only the same could be said for A Few Best Men‘s budding foursome – starring that bloke who was sacked from the BT adverts – who are effortlessly out-gunned by an animatronic sheep.
What starts out merely as a bland romance between two mooning holidaymakers quickly deteriorates into an often excruciating, occasionally unwatchable farce that leaves Olivia Newton-John swinging from a chandelier. While native Australian Samuel struggles pointlessly with an English accent, an increasingly haggard-looking Kris Marshall leads his band of Brits (comprising Kevin Bishop’s contractual fat one – a botched cross between Jonah Hill and The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird – and perhaps the most superfluous character in cinema history) through a neverending slur of improbable set-pieces.
While I would be lying to say that I didn’t laugh (I’m ashamed to say that I did, more than once), not a single eyebrow was raised for at least the first hour of the film’s 97 minute running time. The jokes are there (in theory, at least), it’s just that the actors aren’t quite sure what to do with them, missing their cues with a regularity that would have in itself been funny had the film’s tone not been so infuriatingly jolly throughout. Not even Wilson manages to make an impression, as every attempt she makes to raise the bar from the dead is unceremoniously skipped over by a cameraman desperate to settle once more on Bishop’s it’s-not-a-Hitler-moustache. No, it’s a farting, coke-addled ram that saves the thing from complete disaster. Just.
Despite a few inventive scene changes that unfortunately come across as cheap rather than cheerful, and a light scattering of not entirely terrible performances across the periphery, A Few Best Men is a tired, trashy and tedious regurgitation of The Hangover movies that is too picturesque to be puerile and too poorly made to be funny. That said, it’s STILL better than Lay The Favourite.