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13 Jun 2012

A Few Best Men

There aren't any trannies on buses in the outback desert this time round, but this raucous Aussie wedding comedy won't give you a hangover.

Director: Stephan Elliot

Screenplay: Dean Craig

Cast: Xavier Samuel, Laura Brent, Olivia Newton-John, Jonathan Biggins, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop, Tim Draxi

Best known for putting Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp in drag and making them dance to 70s disco tracks in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Australian LGBT director Stephan Elliot hasn't had a good follow-up in years.

On the surface, A Few Best Men seems unlikely to better his breakout hit, especially when it bears so much resemblance to the Hangover films, feel as though they've already exhausted their creative space by the second instalment. In Stephan Elliot's film, you have the basic Hangover ingredients: a groom and his best pals (they're English) in a foreign land (the bride's Australian), a stag night fuelled by alcohol and illegal substances stolen from a loopy drug dealer, and them waking up with a random animal in the room the next morning. So in what way are the shenanigans different enough from The Hangover that we'll want to watch the same movie twice this year?

It turns out that Stephan Elliot has a couple of neat tricks up his sleeve. A definite improvement in A Few Best Men probably came from the realisation that despite the shenanigans in The Hangover, none of the mishaps, misbehaviour, and misadventures truly jeopardise the impending marriage precisely because they take place out of sight from the bride's family and guests. Naturally, this film ups the ante by trapping the groom and his best men on the wedding location itself. Stephan Elliot and Dean Craig rightfully understand that the mixture of comedy generated by the misfits blundering in full view of the bride, her family, and their very illustrious guests is far more potent. After all, everything is funnier if it's also dangerous at the same time!

One of the great things about doing comedy is once you get the premise right, the jokes write themselves. They may not be original but they're so appropriately inappropriate, the punchlines will set you laughing anyway – and that's the beauty of A Few Best Men.

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