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Australia 2005
Directed by
Marc Gracie
84 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

You And Your Stupid Mate

Synopsis: Philip (Nathan Phillips) and Jeffrey (Angus Sampson) are couple of easy-going guys on the dole who live in a caravan park and devote the bulk of their energy to dodging Centrelink. When their favourite daytime TV soap gets axed they set out to save the day.

Given the dire title of the film with its promise of unremitting, self-congratulatory and, given that these sort of films are always made by people much more intelligent than the audience they aim at, exploitative dross, You and Your Stupid Mate is surprisingly likeable and well-written. Of course all things are relative and the pleasant surprise comes as much from a sense of relief at not encountering another amateurish try-hard exercise in Aussie comedy as it does from the presence of genuine humour.

Co-writers Dave O'Neil and Mark O'Toole have fashioned a passable composite of tongue-in-cheek populist iconoclasm and director Marc Gracie (who previously directed Take Away, 2003, which was also scripted by O'Neil and O'Toole) serves it up in a neatly entertaining package although from both departments the climactic resolution of the boy's mission is diabolically hackneyed (albeit not as wincingly awful as the equivalent moment in last year's Thunderstruck for instance) and I got tired of the lingering takes of Rachel Hunter's gorgeosity.

Angus Sampson, who came to prominence playing Bert Newton to Dylan Lewis's Don Lane on the ABC youth program Recovery some years back, and who appears to have some kind of ovine trait in his genetic make-up, has a natural aptitude for his role as a sweaty slob devoid of any vision other than television, lending proceedings a vital sense of plausibility that they probably would not otherwise have had. On the other hand Nathan Phillips, who impressed in Under The Radar, 2004, (when little else did) has genuine acting skills and responds to his co-star's slovenly persona with understated finesse that endows the pairing with guileless charm that leavens any tendencies to annoying crassness that could have easily buried this film. Honourable mentions should also to William McInnes as the traumatised Centrelink boss and Tayler Kane as the mulleted soapie hunk.

Should you go and see it? Probably not unless you've got a lot of time on your hands. Wait until it's out on DVD, invite a few of your stupid mates around and more likely than not you'll have a few laughs.




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