Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 94 mins .
M15+ . PAL
OK, so the last few years have been a bit of a lean time for great Australian movie comedies, with more than the odd plonker smearing its incredibly smelly poo upon our screens. But when a jewel has actually come along it’s generally tended to have been shot down in flames by a bunch of moronic, legend-in-their-own-mind, too big for their boots “movie critics” with pathetic little nerd-boy delusions-of-adequacy godhead complexes, thinking they’re actually like all important and stuff. As such the more ovine-like masses have stayed away in droves, and while the filmmakers end up taking residence in cardboard boxes due to their lovingly crafted creations tanking at the box office, the joke’s kind of on the public because they’ve missed out on some really great stuff, or some things which have come damned close. Now, I can safely have a swing here, for as some of you are possibly aware I’m just a dumb redhead who writes meandering little musings about films for a puny old website which is only accessible by the entire planet, rather than some broadsheet bastion of dead accurate opinion seen only in individual little cities. And I write about the stuff because I like movies, not because I get paid to show what a smart-arse I can be. Hey, I’m happy to do that much for free!
PHWOAR! Hornbag alert...
Anyway, I happen to love Australian comedy – a truly unique, inimitable part of our culture – however this doesn’t instantly make me any less discerning than anybody else with a few brain cells bouncing about their heads playing neuron Pong. We’ll save mentioning some of the celluloid plop that’s made its way into the big wide world of late and concentrate on the good; the bloody good. Which, in this case, is a succinct description of Bad Eggs.
Written and directed by The Late Show alumnus (there goes the Wank-O-Meter into overdrive) Tony Martin, Bad Eggs isn’t your run of the mill comedy, in fact it’s essentially a crime caper cum (BEEP!) thriller type thing that’s played remarkably straight by those who inhabit its screen space – a vast grab bag of treasured Antipodean-ish comic larrikins including Mick Molloy, Bob Franklin (OK, so he’s a Pom – hence the “ish”), Judith Lucy, Shaun Micallef and Alan Brough, along with the odd ‘real’ actor such as Robyn Nevin, Marshall Napier and Bill f*ckin’ Hunter. Despite this straightness, however, there are still more good natured yet hearty cacks per inch of celluloid here than in any film produced locally in quite some time; those sort of funny everyday observations and silly occurrences that we all trip over, just magnified a tad - but only to great effect.
Playing the Mick Chick again. Oh joy.
Alright, time to get on with it… If you wanted to be slack you could easily just categorise this as a buddy-cop flick. It all revolves around a couple of undercover police types – Mike Paddock (Franklin) and Ben Kinnear (Molloy at his dishevelled best – well, usual self - and not imitating a Collingwood (spit!) footballer) - from the ‘prestigious’ Victorian Zero Tolerance Unit who, after a series of bungles like filling an already dead magistrate full of more lead than you’d find in your average tackle box, burning down his widow’s house then completely f*cking up the man’s funeral, find themselves busted down to uniformed duties. Hardly helped by a tabloid journo, Julie Bale (Judith Lucy, forever damned to the unique hell of playing Mick’s love interest it would seem) with an axe to grind with Kinnear, the two disgraced coppers stumble across a conspiracy-like thing involving ZTU members, large monetary payments and bad ‘80s popstars. They eventually rope Julie in as a reluctant helper, not to mention a man who has a special way with all things beige in computer geek Northey (Brough), as they fumble about trying to clear their names and find out just how far the fetid tendrils of corruption (BEEP! BEEP!) extend into the ZTU.
Shit. I'm stuck in a f*ckin' Homicide homage...
How best to sum things up? How about a comedy-tinged action film set in Victoria (the state on the go, no less!) that purposely sets out NOT to include any trams (although one makes it into the background of a scene anyway – bloody menace multi-wheeled portable roadblocks)? With the sort of perfect timing the public transport system has incredibly messy wet dreams about, more barrels than Donkey Kong (oh yeah, watch the stair scene closely) more snappy one-liners than 15 years of The Simpsons has managed to muster and not a brown suit in sight, Bad Eggs is the best Australian film of 2003. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
And I thought my flat had high ceilings...
Adhering like a fly to shit to its original cinematic ratio of 1.85:1, and all the better for it, the anamorphic transfer afforded Bad Eggs certainly doesn’t suck. While hardly the highest budget production to get a release this year, it comes to the screen without anything worth mentioning in the way of problems, with natural colours, good detail and fantastic shadow detail (and a lot of the story takes place in dark locations) the order of the day. Mr Martin’s film buff credentials are obvious in some of the carefully laid out cinematography and sure, it may not match the latest Hollywood blockbuster for gloss, but few should find anything to have a whinge about here.
The requisite fart joke...
Two English tracks are up for grabs, a stock standard Dolby Digital stereo mix for those who need it, and a much superior DD5.1 mix for those with an investment in lots of speakers and a big woofy box. Sticking with the latter one, those who give the volume knob some stick should be rapt with the response from the various booms and bangs throughout, with some serious subwoofwoof action when called upon, an often quite enveloping soundstage and dialogue which is well-balanced with the various outbreaks of mayhem that occur.
Adding to the whole atmosphere of Bad Eggs is a fantastic soundtrack courtesy of David Graney (ooh, former King of Pop little Dave’s all grown up now!) and his long time collaborator Clare Moore. Given a brief to not make it funny, yet not wanting to resort to thriller-styled cliché, the pair has concocted an intriguing little collection of musical bits and pieces, and even have one of their older, vocal tracks sticky-taped to the end credits for good measure. I’m Gonna Release Your Soul.
Well f*ck me rigid - this is what we like to see, an Australian release with some actual effort put into the collection of extras, of which there are stacks. But before we go there, special mention must be made for the run-through of these on the DVD’s back cover; a cack-inducing collection of smart-arse comments which sum each of them up neatly and succinctly. They’re the italicised comments in brackets below…
Director’s commentary (Appalling.): Tony Martin starts proceedings, pointing out various nerdish film jokes, ad-libs and flubs, along with a lot of boring filmmaking fluff. He’s eventually joined at Commentary Central by Sancia Robinson (who made a brief appearance in the flick, but was involved with the Martin/Molloy radio thing) and second unit director Gary McCaffrie. Producer Greg Sitch kind of phones in his contribution though... In all a great listen, but not as much fun as the…
Cast commentary (Largely incoherent.): Tony Martin goes the yap again, along with Mick Molloy, Judith Lucy and Bob Franklin. Piping up with their voices along the way are the likes of Pete Smith, Alan Brough, Shaun Micallef and, eventually, Bill Hunter and even though it’s a slab-free production, this is as entertaining as these commentary things can be; despite the odd bleep or gap thanks to lawyer intervention (candy-arsed wusses!)
Documentary kind of thing Over Easy (A wank.): Clocking in at a triple-yolkerous time of around 65 minutes (some nong didn’t put a timer on the thing), this has been cobbled together from John Molloy’s video diary of the shoot, some smelly EPK-like interview stuff and the odd outtake or off-cut. With never a dull moment – well, except for the odd one or two – this is how these things should be made, for entertainment rather than just flogging the arse out of the “product”.
Deleted scene (Hardly worth it really.): And they’re not wrong. With little making the hallowed cutting room floor, all we get is a 32 second jobbie featuring Mick ‘n’ Jude, which may be funny if unlike some of us you’re not chronically Cruise-phobic and have actually seen Jerry Maguire.
Trailers, Storyboards, Stills galleries (Does anyone look at this stuff?): Well, we do. Aren’t we sucks? Anyway, three trailers show up; the one used in cinemas (2:14), a rather silly unreleased one (1:49) and an even sillier teaser, all with optional commentary from that Martin bloke, who obviously likes to have a good natter.
The storyboards run for 3:18, featuring a remarkable amount of shonky cartoon drawings rushing by our eyes, but made worthwhile as it’s accompanied by the full-length Bad Eggs theme.
Three stills galleries give us a selection of mostly very derivative posters, all manner of clips from fake newspapers (number 22 being a personal highlight) and stuff like production sketches, press releases, a cast and crew shot and the text from the ZTU disk under the umbrella of that very big, multi-syllabic word ‘miscellaneous’.
David Graney and Clare Moore interview (Promo for the CD.): Just 3:48 of interviews with those two and that director guy Tony, with the odd second or two of interest for those into musical stuff.
Bonus short - The Last Aussie Auteur (Padding.): Fans of the gone but not forgotten The Late Show (the Australian one, dummy) may very well recall this entertaining, near-as-damn-it ten minute presentation documenting the career of filmmaker Warren Perso, the man who brought us such great Aussie classics as Wuthering Heights Down Under, French Chicks in the Nuddy (complete with norgs and plenty of ‘em) and the misunderstood epic masterpiece that was Strzelecki.
Scene selection (Oh don’t try to pass that off as a Special Feature.): See entry below…
Interactive Menus (What other kind are there?): Finally, somebody says what we think every time we see this tragic example of marketing droid bullshit on the back cover of a DVD.
Hidden eggs (Hardly hidden if you’re telling us about them.): You know the drill, check out our googies section for the drum on the six we managed to find in a fit of having absolutely nothing else to do in our feeble little existences.
Nice booklet (Stop. Just stop.): A gargantuan, 300 page, full-colour epic of near biblical proportions, jam packed with scripts, interviews, artwork, photos and a delightful pop-up centrefold of Mick Molloy’s arse crack. Well, it could be – we didn’t get one, so we’re only guessing…
Somehow managing to be serious yet utterly piss-funny at the same time, Bad Eggs is destined to become a cult classic, just as soon as the dozy masses wake up and smell the unique aromatic aroma of the Frankstons…
Excellent video and audio, accompanied by a swag of extras that would damn well cripple poor old Andy (OK, piss weak Banjo Patterson joke, sorry) adds up to one thing – and we’ll hand this review thing over to Bill Hunter here – a f*ckin’ pisser of a f*ckin’ film that will f*ckin’ have you cackin’ yourself f*ckin blind. As long as you’re f*ckin’ bright enough to give it a f*ckin’ chance. Let's see them stick that on the DVD cover! Oh yeah, too late...
And by the way, it’s all dedicated to the wonderful Ivan Hutchinson – a man we just know would have got it.
Jack & Sarah "Proving that simplicity is no obstruction to brilliance, this is an ultimately sweet (but not sickeningly so) tale that gives all those bigger English films out there a more than respectable run for their money... "