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Australia 2000
Directed by
John Tatoulis
82 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

Beware Of Greeks Bearing Guns

This romantic comedy has all the class of a no-budget 60s sitcom, which is to say, very little. One can only assume the script by (presumably) non-Greek Tom Galbraith read well, as the AFC and Film Victoria threw their money at it, probably hoping they had in the pot another Looking For Alibrandi (1999) to which it bears considerable resemblance. But, if so, director Tatoulis (who would survive this to become co-producer of the equally misbegotten box-office flop Let's Get Skase, (2001) has no flair for comedy or ambience and the outcome would have to be counted as a disappointment.

There is hardly an aspect of this film which does not look wrong, from the acting to the set design. Why make an 'ethnic' comedy about Greeks (somewhat unfortunately referred to as Cretans) living in Melbourne and then cast a (presumably, by his name and unconvincing accent) non-Greek, John Bluthal, to play one of the principals? Why would you have them living in a Federation-style home with contemporary art on the walls? And if avoiding the 'wog' stereotype was on the agenda, Bluthal's explaining of Zoe Carides' outburst of temper and mood swings as being because "she's Greek" hardly shows wit (let alone throwing in a Sicilian to strengthen the 'vendetta' angle, is there no Greek word for it?). It's not clear whether Carides looks so strained because that's her character's personality or whether she realized that she'd signed up to a sinking ship.

Although not a recommendation as such the film has a kind of endearing incompetence and it is refreshing to see an Australian comedy that is not the usual parade of WASP types. The video box that this came in had a quote from Urban Cinefile claiming that it is "wildly funny...a charmer that delights on all fronts". That, it unequivocally is and does, not.




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