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Australia 1974
Directed by
Bruce Beresford
93 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Barry McKenzie Holds His Own

Leonard Maltin gives this one-and-a-half stars and limits his critical appraisal to one-word, "idiotic". From an outsider's perspective it's hard not to agree. Indeed in its time quite a lot of our own Antipodean critics did so seeing the film as very much in the mold of the British "Carry On" comedies - stupid plot, chronic sexual innuendo and devoid of grace or charm.

That this Barry Humphries/Bruce Beresford incarnation (a follow-up to the highly successful, Reg Grundy produced The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie) is however a parodic descendant of that genre, with the layer of intelligence underlying the apparent nonsense. It is an intelligence which in a certain light can be considered brilliant (we are talking here mainly Barry Humphries, who originated the McKenzie character for Peter Cook's satirical magazine, Private Eye and who appears in this fillum in a number of different guises) but is more the brilliance of a stand-up comedian and is best over a short run. Unfortunately the longer it goes on the sillier it gets and Maltin looks dead right.

For a goodly part however this is jolly good, in a nostalgic way, fun. The cast is tip-top, in addition to Humphries, including an as-yet unknown Clive James, Donald Pleasance, terrific as a vampire, Count Plasma, and former Prime Minister and wife, Gough and Margaret Whitlam as themselves.




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