Tag Archives: comedy

Mr and Mrs Murder

23 Jul

mrandmrsmurder Murder is a messy business, but after the cops have collected the clues, who cleans it all up? Enter Charlie and Nicola Buchanan (Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart) crime scene cleaners in blue coveralls who mop up the blood, tidy up the furniture and have a good old snoop to try to solve the crime themselves.

Set in Melbourne, this 13-part series locates the crimes in imaginative spots including an art gallery, a theatre, a heritage bathing box, a cabaret and a zoo.

mrandmrsmurder_pic Micallef draws on his comedic skills as the quirky, affectionate Charlie, while Stewart (Offspring) sparkles as his wife Nicola, whose irrepressible nosiness and empathy allows her to wriggle her way into suspects’ confidence. Jonny Pasvolsky (Cops LAC) stars as homicide detective Peter Vinetti, while Gen-Y is represented by the Buchanan’s  niece Jess (Lucy Honigman), who is dragged in to participate in elaborate murder scene re-enactments.

Created by Micallef and Jason Stephens (Newstopia) this charming whodunit features a host of well-known guest stars including Vince Colosimo, Home & Away‘s Kate Ritchie, comedian Merrick Watts and The Slap’s Anthony Hayes. As cosy as a Miss Marple mystery with an Aussie accent, Mr & Mrs Murder is a treat for any armchair detective.

2013, M, FremantleMedia, 780 mins

Advertisements

Friends with Kids

23 Jul

friendswithkids It’s hard to deny that friendships change when people get  married and have kids. Late-night carousing gives way to late-night nappy changes, tempers fray, relationships break down and there is little time for socialising. There is plenty of comedy gold to be mined from this premise, but writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt’s offering fails to sparkle.

Watching their friends Leslie and Alex (Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd) and Missy and Ben (Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm) descend into marriage hell, fun-loving besties Jason and Julie (Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt, pictured) decide to avoid the angst and stay single. However Julie’s biological clock is calling for a kid of her own, but she’s worried she won’t find Mr Right in time.

friendswithkids_picJason offers to help and the two plan to enjoy the best of both worlds by having a baby together, while remaining friends and dating other people. The pregnancy and birth go to plan and as the two take turns with babysitting duties, Julie meets perfect husband material Kurt (Edward Burns) while Jason launches a steamy romance with sexy Mary Jane (Megan Fox). Everything seems to be rosy, but this is Hollywood, and a looming plot twist threatens their cosy arrangement.

Written and directed by Westfeldt, who penned 2001’s Kissing Jessica Stein, the biggest problem with this movie is that the fabulous cast is weighed down by the miserable script. The hilarious Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), is unable to elicit laughs in her role as a depressed wife who hates her husband, played by Mad Men‘s gorgeous Jon Hamm, who himself is thoroughly unlikeable as a cranky alcoholic. Comedian Chris O’Dowd (The Sapphires), who revealed a romantic side in Bridesmaids, fails to charm as the lazy, slobbish husband of Leslie (Maya Rudolph), a stressed mum who is pertually screaming at her other half.

While the film’s assumption that kids will ruin your life is offensively simplistic, the hardest part to swallow (aside from the romance between Megan Fox and dorky Adam Scott) is that any grown-up person could believe that having a kid with your best friend while dating other people is a good idea.

2011, 107 mins, MA15+

Twentysomething – Series 1

22 Jul

twentysomething Jess (Jess Harris) and Josh (Josh Schmidt) are best mates in their 20s living a crazy life together in Melbourne. While their friends are busy studying, climbing the corporate ladder and settling down to have kids, Jess and Josh only live to party.

After the pair are kicked out of their sharehouse they embark on a series of harebrained schemes to try to stay afloat – including taking backpackers on “alternative” tours of Melbourne, running an erotic house-cleaning service and finding lost dogs for reward money.

Shy Josh is occasionally reluctant to throw himself behind Jess’s kooky plans, but her sheer force of personality drags him into the most ludicrous of situations, with occasional help from ditzy friend Abby (Leah de Niese, Offspring).

twentysomething_picThere’s a lot to like about Jess and Josh – Josh’s sweet humility is the perfect foil to Jess’s brash vivacity. Hamish Blake is adorably scruffy as Jess’s old flame Billy, who returns from a trip abroad to try to woo her back. Simon Russell is spot on as Josh’s snobbish older brother Nick, who pesters Josh to get a “proper” job and invest in property.

While Jess and Josh portray unreliable kids to whom the idea of commitment is anathema, in real life, this series grew out of years of dedication and hard work to bring their ideas to fruition. Written by Jess Harris, the series began as a low-budget, one-cameraman affair on Channel 31. Luckily the ABC, as it has done before with shows such as The Marngrook Footy Show, recognised the pair’s talent and invited them to remake the show with a bigger budget.

The DVD extras reveal that the bond between Jess and Josh is real: the pair have been friends since they were 14, while Jess picked Hamish Blake for the role of Billy as they are also good mates. Extras also feature deleted scenes, a drinking game and a peek at the original Channel 31 version.

With sparkling dialogue and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, this six-part series reflects a universal phenomenon that any young person who has ever dreaded the question, “What are you doing with your life?”, can relate to.

M, ABC, 198 mins

QI – Complete series 1-3

22 Jul

Image What Caravaggio did on a tennis court? What would you do with a pencil and a lesser anteater? If you just can’t get enough of this zany quiz show hosted by the absurdly intelligent Stephen Fry, this DVD comprising the first three seasons is guaranteed to tantalise the grey matter and tickle the funny bone.

Points are awarded to panellists who give correct or interesting answers, while points are deducted from those who give incorrect or pathetically obvious answers. Which generally means that regular sidekick Alan Davies racks up about minus forty points during each episode, with his impish inability to restrain himself from blurting out the wrong answer, or as Fry describes it: “rushes headlong like a puppy into the wall of ignorance.”

Drawing on some of the world’s most interesting comedians and personalities, the variety of witty panellists who grapple with the tricky questions include Bill Bailey, Hugh Laurie, Rob Brydon, Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson and Australian comedian Julia Morris. Each episode has a theme and while the panellists often embark on rambling tangents, quizmaster Fry always brings the conversation back on topic with a wry remark and a sardonically raised eyebrow.