A struggling widower businessman finds a new tax loophole offered in Australia to same sex couples. Needing a tax break, he cajoles his best friend, also a widower, into filing papers indicating they are a gay couple living together and assuring him that the small town (population 652) they live in will never have a clue. However, their return letter from the government pops open and the town busybody soon has it spread all over town without the two men's knowledge. Meanwhile, the letter tells the men that a tax inspector will be coming to investigate their claim. The two decide they have to learn to act gay, so they get lessons from a local hair dresser and visit a gay nightclub in Sydney.Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I like a good farce. It's a very simple formula, you wonder why so many films get it wrong. It starts with a small lie... and then a slightly bigger lie to cover the first one, and so on and so on. The secret is to make the underlying situation very serious. In this instance, the threat isn't being "outed" to the township, it's taxation fraud and the potential of being sent to jail that underpins the frantic farceurs.
I watched the DVD of 'Strange Bedfellows' tonight with my partner and we both laughed like hyenas throughout. Even though most of the plot twists are obvious, half the pleasure comes from predicting what's going to happen next, and then seeing it actually happen as poor Vince and Ralph are plunged deeper into their charade. Michael Caton is brilliant, and Paul Hogan shines too, a few slightly wooden scenes notwithstanding. The rest of the cast allows anyone who's grown up with Aussie TV to play a quick game of "Ooh, isn't that...?"
The tax law reform which sets the plot in motion is very improbable - now moreso than when the film was made just last year - but it's clearly just a mcguffin to get the plot rolling, and it's not worth slamming the film for it.
Some people have been saying that the film is full of negative gay stereotypes; since the only part of the film with "real" gays (as opposed to Vince and Ralph's hilariously inept mincing) is set in Oxford St Sydney on a Friday(?) night, it's hardly surprising everyone's all frocked up for a night out. The important lesson here is that once Vince and Ralph sit and talk with them and get to know them, the gay guys are just, well, guys. Which is pretty much the moral of the story. Strip away the glitter and the glam, forget about who does what to whom in the bedroom - if you just stop and look, people are all just people.
I loved this - it's the Australian 'In And Out'. More like this, please.
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