The resounding surprise success of “The Hangover” inspired a litany of films attempting to conjure the same mixture of reliability and outrageousness. “A Few Best Men,” directed by Australian director Stephan Elliott was the strange Australian/British contribution to that wave of inferior films. After some mixed reviews and nominal success it appeared to have been a ‘one and done’ … until now. “A Few Less Men” is a farce, and makes no pretence about it.
“A Few Less Men” deals with the untimely death of their friend Mike (Dacre Montgomery), who at the end of first film tripped off a cliff during the drunken wedding celebration only to briefly survive to be crushed by a rock like Wile E. Coyote. When the lads David, Tom and Gary are tasked with returning the body back to London and facing the wrath of their departed friend’s brother (Ryan Corr), their plane crashes in the West Australian wilderness and they have to make their way out; passing all sorts of strange local fauna (Aussies) along the way.
British writer Dean Craig and new director Mark Lamprell attempt to hit you with a flurry of farcical buffoonery. The British comedic mine of eccentricity is dialled up as the bush seems to be the perfect camouflage for an array of crazies. Forget about the hazardous and poisonous wilderness, starvation or dehydration and death; they have to avoid leather clad bogans in desert raves who have run out of beer. There are no real characters, people or even physics in this imaginary world. Apart from David, a somewhat ‘real’ character, Tom (Kris Marshall) and Graham (Kevin Bishop) are painfully stupid caricatures that propel them towards each next scenario.
Lamprell and Craig are punching hard to deliver a continuous stream of ridiculous humour. There are a lot of jokes that clang like frying pans on concrete floors and cringing about the low brow stupidity of it all keeps you restrained. It’s broad, slapstick, gross out gags for the most part but the shtick of the leading pair of idiots (complemented by Samuel’s David straight man) gets tiresome fast. Extended cameos from Shane Jacobson’s Mungus, Lynette Curran’s Maureen and Ryan Corr’s Henry/Tom Hardy impression form the best parts of the film because the central trio are effectively punished for all the stupid things that we’ve seen them get up to in the first film and in the first act of this film.
“A Few Less Men” is not going to be challenging any sophisticated comedic minds. The characters are cartoonish exaggerations of those kids you grew up with that whenever they were told “don’t touch/do that,” they couldn’t help themselves (if you can’t think of who that is, it’s you). When the jokes do fire, there are some great laughs. “Less” is most definitely better than “Best.”
"A Few Less Men" is out in Australia on March 9, 2017.