Reel Affirmations 2005
Review by Will O’Bryan
Rating: (4 out of 5)
Saturday, 10/15/2005, 3:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
WITH THE ADVANTAGE of a budget and big-name talent that would make any indie filmmaker jealous, Australia’s Strange Bedfellows manages to satisfy. It’s by no means ground-breaking, but it’s worth some laughs, social commentary and tender moments.
In short, as so many have done before them, longtime straight buddies Ralph (Michael Caton) and Vince (Paul Hogan) need to play gay. This time it’s not to get the girl, but rather the tax break. Mayhem of course ensues in this small-town setting of Yakandandah, a fictional, rural Australian town that could easily pass for a small Midwestern U.S. town in autumn. Keeping with the formula, Vince and Ralph need lessons on how to gay it up. ”For God’s sake, Ralph — mince!” This bit’s a little tired, but Strange Bedfellows makes amends by sending our small-town seniors to the big city for field study, where ”Crocodile Dundee” Hogan can elicit a few laughs trying to navigate gay club land.
But it’s back to formula as the story ends on the night of the firemen’s ball back in Yakandandah, with all the townsfolk learning lessons about character, acceptance and all the rest. Not to be a spoiler, but the movie follows an American movie formula, rather than Australian. Director Dean Murphy keeps it light, not hitting us over the head with cancer or a stroke or some other dire calamity just when we’re in the middle of a laugh.