Little plot but generous laughs in 'A Few Best Men'

Little plot but generous laughs in 'A Few Best Men'

Weddings bring out the best and worst aspects of human nature.

The volatile cocktail of alcohol and anticipation, tinged with excitement and regret, sparks an outpouring of heartfelt and sometimes painful emotion.

'A Few Best Men' witnesses the devastation when an English lad and an Australian girl, who meet on holiday, decide to tie the knot and bring together their dysfunctional clans from opposite sides of the world.

Cultures clash with dire consequences jeopardising the fledgling relationship before the ink has dried on the marriage certificate.

Screenwriter Dean Craig, who previously penned ‘Death At A Funeral’, takes inspiration from ‘The Hangover’, condemning his four beleaguered heroes to suffer manifold indignities, including one man trying his hand – ahem – as a veterinarian to remove cocaine-filled condoms from the lower tract of a merino sheep.

There is scant rhyme or reason to many of the potty-mouthed interludes, such as one character growing a Hitler moustache, but Stephan Elliott’s film manages to milk generous laughs from the characters’ misery.

David (Xavier Samuel) and Mia (Laura Brent) meet on a tropical island and are instantly smitten.

They pledge themselves to each other and David returns to rain-lashed London to tell his pals the exciting news.

“You are gambling your whole life on a girl you don’t know!” despairs confirmed bachelor Tom (Kris Marshall), who believes in enjoying life and as many women as possible.

Clumsy clot Graham (Kevin Bishop) and drama queen Luke (Tim Draxl), who has just been dumped for another man, voice similar concerns.

Unperturbed, David books a flight to Australia and Tom, Graham and Luke join him on the hare-brained odyssey.

David heads straight to the in-laws and ingratiates himself to Mia’s father, Senator Jim Ramm (Jonathan Biggins), and his dutiful wife, Barbara (Olivia Newton-John).

Meanwhile, Tom, Graham and Luke make a pit-stop at the den of a tattooed drug-dealer (Steve Le Marquand) and accidentally leave with an entire stash of cocaine.

As preparations for the big day gather pace, disaster follows catastrophe and David finally cracks.

“This is supposed to be the most memorable day of my life,” he sobs.

“It probably is… in a way,” guffaws Tom.

‘A Few Best Men’ leaves logic standing at the altar as two-dimensional characters stumble from one toe-curling faux pas to the next, leaving destruction and bruised egos in their wake.

Samuel and Brent are sweet yet bland – the perfect on-screen love match – while Marshall and Bishop take it in turns to play the jester, their tomfoolery transforming Newton-John’s uptight matriarch into a fun-loving, drug-fuelled vamp.

Perennial scene stealer Rebel Wilson is also a hoot as Mia’s lesbian sister.

The finale is an almighty mess but like most weddings, once the dust and the dancefloor clears, there’s an upbeat ending for some.

Star Rating: 2½

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