Monday, September 17, 2012

kath & kimderella

Have you heard of the sandwich way of criticism? It’s when you need to say something bad about someone who you’re trying to encourage, or who you like, or who will roll up their manuscript/screenplay/comic and beat you about the head with it if you are mean. (I am this person.) You sandwich the bad criticism between good criticism. 

Like, for instance, Kath & Kimderella. I enjoyed the first season of Kath & Kim (I bought it on VHS, in case you were curious about how long ago it started). Kath & Kimderella is possibly the worst movie to ever grace the big screen. But Woodley was very funny. 

See? A nice gentle criticism sandwich. 

Kath (Jane Turner) and Kim (Gina Riley) are both angsting about the missing sparkle (or “vajazzle”, as Kath would and does say) in their relationships when plot encouragement occurs for them as Kath wins a competition at her local chemist for a trip to the Spanish outpost of Pampilloma, located in the south of Italy. Upon their arrival they discover that the whole place has gone bankrupt and their hotel has shut down, but after a tour of the local castle the king (Rob Sitch with luscious hair) misinterprets their knockoff label clothes as the real thing, assumes they’re rich and attempts to seduce Kath for her apparent wealth. His son, hiding his features behind a mask, falls for Kim after seeing her with a t-shirt that says PRINCESS on it in sparkles. Hijinks ensue. Sigh. 

The central conceit isn’t really a problem—give me enough jokes and any plot is fine. But crucially, Kath & Kimderella is not funny. It’s not funny when Kath, Kim and Sharon (Magda Szubanski, along for the ride) go outlet shopping and the girls run around sped up like a Benny Hill skit. The same sped-up schtick is also not funny when Kath uses what she thinks is the castle’s gym but is in fact their dungeon (LOL HAHA except that it is actually totally a gym). It’s not funny when Kath and King Javier go for a ride on their Vespa against some green screen so obvious that it could almost be a joke, but just looks bizarrely cheap against the rest of the movie’s actually decent backdrops. It’s not funny when the plot stagnates halfway through, and it’s not funny that all the twists are completely obvious from the moment the characters appear on the screen. 

It’s also confusing when the poor men, left at home to watch telly in their Snuggies, decide to go fight the royals for their women. Kath’s husband Kel (Glenn Robbins) commits an act on an airplane that would surely get him banished from all flights forever, but then turns up mysteriously in Europe five minutes later to save the day. And, even more mysteriously, arrives before Kim’s own husband Brett (Peter Rowsthorn), who was on either the same flight or an earlier one. Uh, spoiler alert. Also, Gina Riley looks amazing and while I certainly can’t rock a midriff top, I’m a bit over the whole “ugh, look at her in an outfit that’s too small lulz” thing. Wear what you want and get over it. 

Oh hey, It wasn’t entirely awful. Kim’s cutting little digs were occasionally funny, and the cinema popcorn was nice, and the bit where the king and Kath address a crowd and Frank Woodley signs for the hearing impaired made me shake with laughter. This hasn’t made me dislike Turner and Riley, whom I admire greatly for making me laugh numerous times over the years, but I really did not enjoy this. Though I did just see a review on IMDb by summerblink that stated “To everyone who didn't find it amusing - there's so much of Australian culture you do understand. If you call yourself an Aussie, you should be ashamed.” And I’m glad people like it, honestly, but here I am in shame, saying I give it 9 out of 86 minutes.

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