Patrick McGinlay's Internet Tendency

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July 31, 2003

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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 sight.

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.


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