Criminal Ways (2003)
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First, here's my take on Australian comedies (based on the two I've seen: THE WANNABEES and RAZZLE DAZZLE). They don't pack as many zingers as Hollywood comedies, but even better, they space out the gags & make you wait for them. The humour is more situational, often not requiring a punchline. In a word: subtle. For this, I'm sure many American viewers may be disappointed or frustrated. But if you like your comedies on the softer side (like the British DEATH AT A FUNERAL, the Japanese KIKUJIRO or even the American DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, I think you'll appreciate this one.
The plot seems old (a bunch of losers band together to pull off some preposterous heist). But as with many great films that share this premise, the beauty is in how creative the story gets within its scope. Here we definitely get a lot of creativity. The film is delightfully predictable, yet surprising and engaging at the same time.
The humour is irreverent but not crass. In fact, I was surprised at the R rating. True, the gags are sometimes "adult" (like the scene where a guy mistakes a dildo for his throat- mic LOL!) but there's never anything explicit or filthy like you might see in one of those American Pie teen flicks. As for irreverent, this movie is not afraid to stereotype people. I suppose it might border on offensive, if you've got a pole up your orifice, but it's not nearly as bad as one of the reviews made it sound. There are a few homosexual characters who act a little queenie, and there's a hilarious Filipino(?) character who can't pronounce the letter 'F'. But none of the gags are mean spirited. In fact, I found it refreshing to see a movie that's not afraid to take us there, sort of like the Sarah Silverman show might do. I think this is the beauty of Aussie comedy. It even makes fun of Australians (or is it making fun of Americans making fun of Australians?) so everyone is fair game.
My only tiny criticism is the way the DVD box highlights Ilsa Fisher as if she's the star of the movie when really she's just an equal co-star with the rest. So if you watch the movie just for her, you may feel unsatisfied. To me, the other performances steal the show. We have such a great lineup of weird yet endearing losers, you can't help but love every one of them.
I really enjoyed this movie, and the minute it ended I wanted to watch it again. If you like subtle, offbeat comedies I'm sure you'll like it too. Check out the movies I mentioned above as well as these other lesser-known gems: THE MAIDEN HEIST, the Canadian ZEYDA AND THE Hit-man, the French CRIME SPREE, and I've mentioned it already--you must see RAZZLE DAZZLE.
After the local success of his last film, "THE WOG BOY", comedian (?)Nick Giannopoulos has fallen into the trap of thinking his audience would swallow anything he made, and this poorly executed & terribly acted attempt at comedy is full of immature toilet humour and lame jokes that make you grit your teeth in pain.
The turgid script concerns a bunch of low brow criminals who enlist the aid of a third rate actor to create a Wiggles / Teletubbies type childrens act as a cover for a series of heists. The film just lurches from one painful scene to another as it sinks to the depths of boredom & stupidity, and I can see this film destined to end up in two places...(a) On the IMDB Bottom 100 film listing, and (b), In the $1.00 a week dump bin at your local video library.
Steer well clear of this giant lemon !!
The Wannabes starts of with some badly drawn characters "the world's worst actor", cardboard cutout crims and the obvious bad girl with the heart of gold for love interest. Needless to say, everything else follows the formula.
Many ideas should and would have been discarded with re-writes, the "Flashdance" reference is one and their big break where they are "discovered" just left me confused for the mess that was on the screen.
Don't take the kids as it's language content is definitely not for the kids but can adults sit through guys doing a bad Hi-5 imitation without the cute girls to look at?
Someone has to let him know.
He failed to engage me in the characters, he failed to make be believe the events and he even failed to follow the simple rules of story telling.
This flick is for no one, too crude for tots and too stupid for adults. There is nothing in this film for anyone.
The slight nod to an international audience was even a debilitation to the movie, and God knows what anyone should think of The Australian Film Industry if this crud gets seen abroad.
A total embarrassment.
A pathetic film that tried to cover too many comedy concepts and failed through all of them.
"Angry" would be the emotion I felt after seeing this film. Why? Because Film Victoria was a financial backer of this film, so, as an Australian taxpayer, I have contributed money to rubbish.
A glance of the cover of "The Wannabes" in the video store was enough to confirm this film would be rubbish. I wasn't so stupid to actually hire it, but did waste two hours of my life watching it on free to air TV.
While Nick Giannopoulos and his friends proved successful in Melbourne with theatre such as "Wogs Out of Work" and the TV series "Acropolis Now", the idea has well and truly run out of steam. And yet Giannopoulos continues to peddle the same concepts in production after production.
Film Victoria, the Film Finance Corporation and any other Australian film funding body would be highly irresponsible to finance any more projects by this production team.
In fact, I've just emailed the Melbourne Film Office with "do not finance" plea to any further Nick Giannopoulos projects. I urge you to do the same.
The only positive thing about this film is that it did employ a production crew, so kept food on the table for a couple of dozen Victorians. Perhaps that was the basis for the MFO giving it the funding go ahead. But, it probably made those crew make mental notes to never produce a lame film like this themselves.
Can I be any more frank? I think the only amusing thing about this film is reading the scathing reviews on IMDb about it.
I was disturbed to find that there are people on IMDb defending it because of its humour and light touch. For a start, to find this filth even remotely amusing, you would need to have lived in a cave all your life, never communicating with anyone. Staring at a blank screen would have brought me closer to laughter than this dreck. And to suggest that the film has a light touch is utterly ludicrous. The amount of unnecessary swearing in the film leaves a deeply unpleasant residue, and drags the tone of the film down lower than it already would have been.
Nick Giannopoulos is easily the most repugnant screen presence I have ever come across. And he's meant to be the hero? A scene in which he dries himself after a shower brought me to the brink of vomiting. When later he was masturbated by a sperm-hungry Asian vixen, I wondered if I would ever be able to eat again. I find it difficult to believe that, after this absolute train wreck of a production, Nick Giannopoulos could ever work again. The sexist, ageist, racist, homophobic and UTTERLY NARCISSISTIC undertones in this film would make me question his values as a human being.
And Michael from Melbourne, you are absolutely right. The fact that government agencies put money towards this thing is an outrage. I know it helped that Nick had a couple million stashed away to put towards it, but to put tax-payers' money towards this sort of insidious, hate-filled slop is insulting and corrupt. The fact that this film was made raises questions about the dire state of the policies of Australia's film finance agencies.
The only consolation I can take is knowing that the film was a financial disaster. I can't help but think that everyone who put money towards it got exactly what was coming to them. If they couldn't see it from that script (which, at times, simply does not make sense) then they should think about changing careers.
The idea of criminals becoming a hugely popular children's group is clever and could have played our really well if the comedy had come from the real conflicts and characters rather than resorting to a ridiculous subplot that looks completely tacked on.
It amazes me what gets made in this country.
world of organized crime with hilarious results, a strong cast of characters saves what could have been a huge disappointment, not the greatest acting in the
world but thats not what you look for in light hearted comedy, this film lives up to Gianopoulas' early work and almost surpasses "the wogboy". Some great comedic performances ensures some big laughs especialy from
Ryan Johnson as Hammer the Eminem "wannabe". People will say this movie is
pure crap but its entertaining and delivers what you would expect from the Nick Gianopoulas.
The support cast actually seem to be the stars of the show in this feature. The character of Stewie provides a human element to being a criminal and was acted to the best of ability by Tony Nikolakopoulos. Adrian (Costas Kilias) and Hammer (Ryan Johnson) provided a few funny moments, and Marcus (Russell Dystra) keeps the film grounded, whilst Kirsty (Isla Fisher) provides a little eye candy. Nick Giannopoulos - what are you doing?
Seriously, Australian film has GOT to be better than this - I can't believe that this film actually won an award of any sort!!