David (Xavier Samuel) and Mia (Laura Brent) meet on holiday, and what could have just been a holiday romance becomes more when David announces to his friends Tom (Kris Marshall), Graham (Kevin Bishop) and Luke (Tim Draxl) that he is getting married in Australia… And of course they have to accompany him.
The Hangover has a lot to answer for. The film brought about the bromance, gross-out flick back to general attention, and it seems as though film makers have been trying to replicate the film’s success ever since.
Writer Dean Craig is best known for penning the script for the American version of Death at a Funeral. A remake of a film that was not very good to begin with. In A Few Best Men, Craig has managed to create the most one-dimensional characters seen on screen in a long time. David swings between being loyal to his friends and trying to impress his new family, and manages neither. Tom is obsessed with sex and drugs, Graham has a running gag about a Hitler-esque moustache and Luke is suicidal after a break up. As well as this, Mia is the typical whiny bride and her mum actually seems unhinged.
Xavier Samuel is a good-looking guy, but this is not enough of a reason to cast him in a film. It seems as though he is struggling to break through the terrible story and script, but he doesn’t try incredibly hard, and nor does he succeed. Laura Brent never manages to be anything other than annoying and neither does Tim Draxl. Kris Marshall pretty much plays the same character as he did in Love Actually; the stereotypical hornball who is determined to get as messed up as possible, but whereas Colin was actually rather endearing, Tom is selfish and annoying.
Why Olivia Newton-John decided to do this film is a mystery – although the fact that her last movie was called Score: A Hockey Musical may go some way to explaining it. Barbara actually seems as though she should seek professional help; it is fair to say that her husband is not the most warm or generous person, but she decides to go on a cocaine bender at her daughter’s wedding and swing from a chandelier. As you do. None of the characters in the film seem to be motivated by anything other than their own selfish needs and as such, the audience struggles to like them or relate to them.
The set pieces in the film rely on the slapstick and the absurd; the slapstick would rather well if it was not for how ridiculously bizarre the absurd parts get. Once the prize ram gets dressed up in women’s underwear and locked into a bathroom, it is all downhill. Sometimes literally.
Director Stephan Elliot is perhaps best known as the director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but he also directed the terribly misguided film Eye of the Beholder, which starred Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd. Elliot has created a film that is over the top – but not over the top enough to work – with a cast of characters that are extremely unlikeable and a storyline that is utterly unbelievable. Good writing and a good cast can sell even the most ridiculous story, but A Few Best Men lacks both.
In all, A Few Best Men has a ridiculous story, horrible characters and is crass for the sake of being crass. The Hangover may have inspired this film, but it lacks the sophistication and sense of fun that The Hangover had, and just ends up as a borderline insulting mess.