"Falls at the very first hurdle, as a comedy feature that unfortunately, just isn't at all funny..."
If there is one thing you can say about us Brits, is that we sure can be a funny bunch. Dominating the sitcom genre, we're renowned for our ability to simply make people laugh. Another nation excelling in such a field is Australia, with comedians such as Barry Humphries and Chris Lilley, and films such as Kenny and Muriel’s Wedding. Yet surprisingly when you combine the two nationalities together you are presented with A Few Best Men. One of the unfunniest and dullest films you'll see all year.
We follow the blossoming romance between a British traveller called David (Xavier Samuel) and an adventurous Australian called Mia (Laura Brent), who meet on holiday, and although barely knowing one another, decide to get married. A few months down the line and the wedding is all ready to go ahead, and David flies over to Australia with his three best friends to marry who he believes to be the love of his life.
Travelling with David is the overly-enthusiastic and confident Tom (Kris Marshall), the somewhat hapless yet harmless Graham (Kevin Bishop) and the melancholic best man Luke (Tim Draxl), struggling to come to terms with his recent break-up. In what should be a beautiful and serene occasion, the wedding is soon turned into a madhouse, as the group unintentionally cause havoc, throwing the entire occasion into disarray, much to the displeasure of the happy couple and Mia's parents played by Jonathan Biggins and Olivia Newton-John.
In a similar mould to films such as The Hangover and The Sitter, A Few Best Men is one of those comedies where everything just keeps going wrong, yet unfortunately for director Stephan Elliott and writer Dean Craig, such a sentiment is extended to the actual film itself, as it is encumbered with a terribly unfunny and unoriginal script. You could tell instantly this film was going to be below-par, with a poorly acted opening scene that is so bad it could well be a parody. Though it isn't.
One of the picture’s biggest issues is that it seems determined to actually persist with its romantic narrative, rather than to simply ditch it and play up on the inane absurdity of the feature. It's like, you're not a very good movie, you know you aren't a very good movie, so be deliberately bad, it's the only way you'll be able to get out of this deep hole you've dug. Having said that the best man's speech is certainly a highlight and does make you laugh out loud, but you can't help but feel guilty for laughing, worrying that people around you may misjudge you as a result. I don't really enjoy the film... honest!
The film also just feels so unoriginal, with a story that has been done a million times over. Best man speeches, stag dos, they've all been done before, not to mention the obligatory "let's laugh because I've taken drugs I don't usually take" scene. You can tell what is being attempted here, as a Hangover rip-off of a group of men who continuously seem to get themselves into trouble, yet it simply isn't pulled off. The series of mishaps feels too contrived, for example Graham leaves a bag at a drug-dealer’s house only to take the wrong one back with him, subsequently, and accidentally, stealing drugs, which kick starts an entire sub-story. However it only comes about because Graham takes his heavy suitcase out of the car and into the dealer’s house for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and this is just one of many examples of how this film sows the seeds far too conspicuously for later story-lines.
As for the performances, the lacklustre Samuel and Brent aside, the rest aren't actually that bad, they're just working with a rather mundane script. Bishop and Marshall are the stand-out performers, even if the latter’s character is highly irritating - and certainly too old to keep calling his friends "Bruv". When Marshall left those turgid BT adverts one assumed the only possible way was up. Oh how wrong I was.
A Few Best Men simply falls at the very first hurdle, as a comedy feature that unfortunately, just isn't at all funny. With an unhealthy combination of a poor script and mediocre acting, this isn't a film I recommend very highly. Or at all for that matter.