It’s always important to go into the cinema with an open mind but sometimes you can’t help but have lower expectations for some films than others. So what a nice surprise it was for A Few Best Men to be a genuinely funny, farcical buddy comedy.
While on the surface it can be passed off as “the unnecessary British answer to The Hangover/Bridesmaids” followed by a roll of the eyes, in fact it is absolutely the British answer to The Hangover/Bridesmaids followed by just as many laughs, if not more than its American uncle and aunt.
It’s incredibly silly and irreverent, full of the typical plot tropes. David (Xavier Samuel) and Mia (Laura Brent) meet, fall in love and agree to marry while on holiday in Tuvalu. David comes back to England and tells his three best mates (played by Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop and Tim Draxl) who are all less than impressed by his decision to prematurely grow up and move away from them to live with Mia in her native Australia. With regret, all his ‘best men’ agree to go down-under for their friend’s wedding. David meets Mia’s parents, Barbara (Olivia Newton-John) and his Senator father Jim (Jonathan Biggins), who are rather cautious about this sudden elopement. When David’s mates go searching for some stag-night-weed and end up letting the family’s prized sheep get lose, it all adds up to some glorious wedding day mayhem.
Rather than relying on lazy, persistent pop cultural references like so many comedies these days, it just contains good jokes and distinctive, silly and consistent characters. It contains its moments of crudeness without being suffocating because while many of the characters are in large part idiots, they’re crucially still likeable which helps to make even the signposted gags quite amusing. In the end it’s loosely touching because the characters feel somewhat grounded despite their stupidity. Utterly preposterous and well written and for the first time in a long time I can happily say – plenty and plenty of laughs.
Review by David Rank
A Few Best Men is out on 31st August in the UK. Certificate 15 (UK). Running time 97 mins.
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