- - - -
BY ADAM WAJNBERG
& JACOB ZHIVOV
July 31, 2003
- - - -
Few phrases in the English language strike as much fear
into the heart of the average movie-goer as "Australian Romantic
Comedy". Even when jumbled into "Comtralian Ausantic Romady".
Between Strictly Ballroom and Muriel's Wedding, I don't care if I
never see a happy Australian ever again. In that spirit, I was set
to be disappointed by Danny Deckchair, and I was disappointed to find
it was fine.
It's really the same old story we've seen a thousand
times before. The film centers around this guy Danny Morgan (Rhys
Ifans), a likable cement mixer from Sydney's inner suburbs who wants
to go on vacation with his girlfriend Trudy (Justine Clarke). Trudy
is a real estate agent with the lofty ambition of fucking television
sports reporter Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon). She gets a chance to meet
the reporter, so they postpone their vacation and sub it with a barbecue.
At the barbecue, Danny ties huge helium balloons to his deckchair,
which floats away and takes him over a very photogenic Sydney, and
onwards to the country town of Clarence, where the town becomes smitten
with him, including cute parking officer Glenda Lake (Miranda Otto).
Meanwhile, back in Sydney, his girlfriend is getting boned by Sandy
and Danny is an absentee media sensation.
The film is almost completely carried by Danny's very
Aussie charm, portrayed handily by (Welshman) Ifans. The plot is an
afterthought and the characters are even more half baked than the
characters in Half Baked, the 1998 comedy centering around 3 stoner
friends who develop a killer strain of weed and sell it in a bid to
bail one of their friends out of prison. Co-written and starring David
Chappelle, this low grade vehicle is nonetheless entertaining enough
to waste away an afternoon with. The best scene is the one where Danny
and Sir Smoke-A-Lot do this commercial on "Weed TV" about
the new strain of marijuana and it screens in Clarence, and Glenda
realizes that her man is the very same man who floated above Sydney
on a deckchair suspended by helium balloons. Then all hell breaks
loose, and Tommy Chong (Tank from the first Matrix film) makes a cameo
as the Squirrel Master. Classic.
Danny's Half Baked Deckchair - 2.5 stars
In Extreme Ops, a film crew travels
to the Austrian Alps near the former Yugoslav border to film the end
to their camera commercial. The ending involves downhill gold medalist,
Chloe Watson (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), being chased down by an avalanche.
What they don't know, however, is that they're filming near the secret
hideout of Slobodan Pavle (Klaus Löwitsch), a Serbian war criminal.
Accidentally catching him on film, they become locked in a life-or-death
chase through the mountains that includes skiing, snowboarding, sky
diving and helicopters.
I was asked by many, why did I go see this film? The
simple answer is, I like films that sound dodgy and after reading
the plot for it I thought this film would be right up my alley. Alas,
I was wrong, this film was like Scooby Doo, but instead of having
a smart one, a leader, etc all of them are Shaggy. Yes, they all are
stupid and drugged out. Instead of being smart and hiding from the
bad guy they try to ski down a giant mountain to escape, in his plain
I can't even say this film was so bad it was good. This
film made Biker Boyz look like genius and that says a lot.
BIKER BOYZ stars Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke and
Kid Rock. It is rated M and is 110 minutes long. It opened last week.
DANNY DECKCHAIR stars Rhys Ifans & Miranda Otto,
It is rated PG and is 100 mins long. It opens today.
EXTREME OPS stars Devon Sawa, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras,
Rupert Graves and Rufus Sewell, is rated M and is 93 minutes long.
It opens today.
HALF BAKED is currently available on DVD.