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Australia 1999
Directed by
Ted Emery
92 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars

The Craic

A witless throwback to the Ocker comedies of the 1970s, this direly unfunny, bargain basement comedy about a pair of Irish slobs Downunder nicely demonstrates the truism that one can never under-estimate the intelligence of the great unwashed.

Written by and starring Jimeoin McKeown, a well-known Irish-Australian stand-up comedian who has impish looks and a laddish charm and directed by Ted Emery whose, previous work had been in television (including Jimeoin's own TV show) , it is a concatention of clichés built around the tiresomely familiar narrative structure of a chase as a couple of likely Oirish lads flee to Australia witeh IRA in hot pursuit. A checklist of stereotypical Australianisms including barbie kultcha, beer, Queensland, television game shows, beer, Neighbours, the Outback, beer, the Holden Kingswood, cane toads etcetera, etcetera are rolled out to a soundtrack of 1980s pop songs.

The joke (which in Oirish is called "the craic") is, of course, that these are clichés. But in the absence of any leavening wit in story, dialogue or characterisation and the dull predictability of their presentation it makes for a lame joke indeed, and what's worse, one that's been told many times before.

Like Benny Hill or Frankie Howerd comedies in their day, only the fact that Jimeoin brings to the project a marketable identity as a comedian explains the success of this film (it raked in over AUD$5 million at the box-office). That Colin Hay, former frontman of Men At Work, both has a significant acting role in this and gets to sing the bands unofficial national anthem 'A Land Downunder' over the end credits (with the landscape upside down, get it?) is sufficiently indicative of the quality and pitch of this film.




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