BoyTown (DVD)


Molloy has again (though “Crackerjack” is still the fave) crafted a terrific Australian comedy – that for the most part is, a hit parade of laughs – that’s sure to have a few bad-bladdered lasses and lads beseeching a fresh pair of underoos.

Glenn Robbins, Mick Molloy, Bob Franklin, Wayne Hope, Gary Eck, Lachy Hulme, Sally Phillips, Lois Ramsay, Sarah Walker, Syd Brisbane, John Molloy, Tony Martin, Victoria Hill

If the new Aussie comedy “BoyTown” – the latest tummy tickler from Mick Molloy and the “Crackerjack” soldiers – was a piece of music, it’d be a sheet with a profusion of high tempo’s, with the only dip being its dipping finish. But even the best conductor can appreciate proficient penning like this, even when it does occasionally hit the wrong note.

The great thing about Mick Molloy – whose following streams from way back, with ABC’s “The Late Show”, and later, his popular radio show with constant comrade Tony Martin – is that he makes films for the people. Critics may have taken a lawnmower to the blades of his films, but the commoner is, like a boot on a fishing line, reeled in every time. They appreciate his easily identifiable and fair-dinkum sense of humour; they love the larrikin in him, and get a kick out of his simplistic but silly ideas. In many ways, Molloy is this decade’s Paul Hogan (with brother John in the Strop role) – a languid larrikin that plays it real. He’s also as talented as he is a good businessman – he can write, produce, act…. He really is a one-man circus.

“BoyTown” is a gem of an idea – something Dave Dobkin or Ben Stiller are going to be kicking each other nuts-first for not dreaming up earlier – that transcends beautifully to the screen.

The pic tells of a former 80s boy band, BoyTown, whose former members – played by Glenn Robbins, Mick Molloy, Wayne Hope, Gary Eck and Bob Franklin – are all now grown-up and have become rather restless in their later lives. They decide to try and rediscover some of there er, magic, by putting the band back together. The record company – Lachy Hulme hamming it up superbly as exec, Marty Boomstein – bankrolls a couple of records, but unfortunately, they sink faster than the Titanic. Its then that the guys realise what they’re doing wrong – they need to write for their audience (their original audience, women who are now in their forties) not kids, and a string of chart successes – including “Cellulite Lady”, “Dishpan Hands”, and “Picking the Kids Up From School”– follow.

Taking the piss out of Boy bands – like WestLife, N’Sync or New Kids on the Block – has, up till now, been delegated to sketch comedy-ville. “Saturday Night Live” did an amusing spoof on N’Sync a few years back, for instance. The problem with many of those skits though, including the SNL one, is that they run out of steam about a minute into the five-minute piece. They go too over-the-top too soon, and go out like a balloon that’s been pierced – collapsing by the second. Molloy has managed to make a sustainable feature-length film out of the premise though, and merely because he hasn’t gone for the ‘over-the-top’ trick. In fact, the film seems – and it made infuriate hardcore fans of the comedian – rather tame. It definitely could’ve gone the other way, but it hasn’t, and I think the ‘Panadol over Crack’ route works in its favour. Something that simmers, over a fast-boil, is better every time.

Sure, there are laughs – in fact, there’s some ripper laughs – but there’s a good blot of plot here too. It’s exactly what a film like this needs. It probably could’ve gotten away with cardboard characters too, but it’s all the more better for putting some flesh on these puppies – it plays, well, as real as the scenario allows it to.

The only off-note of the piece – although probably only used because there aren’t a lot of alternative conclusions in a film like this – is the ending, which seems a bit of a punch in the left one. But even NKOTB’s greatest hits had a couple of moments of blandness – it’s unavoidable, especially when so much of something is so good.

The acting makes the movie though. The ensemble here is terrific. Molloy, Eck, Robbins, Franklin, Hope, and especially Lachy Hulme (worth paying $15 bucks to see my old buddy’s hairline in this, I tell ya!) are at the top of their game. Some of the cameo players – especially Victoria Hill, and Tony Martin, whose always a welcome presence in a Molloy pic – are also gold.

Molloy has again (though “Crackerjack” is still the fave) crafted a terrific Australian comedy – that for the most part is, a hit parade of laughs – that’s sure to have a few bad-bladdered lasses and lads beseeching a fresh pair of underoos.

The DVD includes some very funny extras including, a commentary with cast and crew; a side-splitting bit with Lachy Hulme (in character) and video clips.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris