out of Five
Running time: 96
Disappointing wedding comedy that tries painfully hard to be funny but fails in the attempt, thanks to an over-indulgent script, lacklustre romantic leads and unlikeable main characters, not to mention a tendency to beat you over the head with its only decent jokes by repeating them over and over again.
What's it all about?
Directed by Stephan Elliott (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), A Few Best Men stars Xavier Samuel as David, a young British backpacker who proposes to his Australian girlfriend Mia (Laura Brent) after the two meet and spend a romantic couple of weeks together on a deserted tropical island.
When he returns to England, his best friends – obnoxious alpha-male Tom (Kris Marshall), socially challenged Graham (Kevin Bishop) and near-suicidal depressive Luke (Tim Draxl) – are horrified to hear of his imminent nuptials, but nonetheless agree to serve as his three best men, not least because the wedding involves a trip to the Australian outback.
When they arrive, David immediately falls foul of Mia's politico father Jim (Jonathan Biggins), while Graham and Tom somehow accidentally wind up with a bag full of drugs belonging to an angry redneck drug dealer (Steve Le Marquand) after a visit to score some weed. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the group wake up after a drug and booze-fuelled stag night to discover that they have abducted Jim's prize ram and hidden it in their bedroom.
Marshall and Bishop are likeable comic actors but they're saddled with unappealing characters here, while Samuel and Brent are both rather bland as the supposed romantic leads, which makes it difficult to really engage with anyone on screen. That said, Elliott keeps things ticking along at a lively pace and there's scene-stealing support from Bridesmaids' Rebel Wilson (as Mia's sister) and from Olivia Newton-John as Mia's mother, both of whom are the joint best things in the film.
If the plot of A Few Best Men seems familiar, it's because writer Dean Craig has essentially rehashed his script for Death at a Funeral, changing the central social function and throwing a slightly different set of things going horribly wrong (he keeps the drugs in though). As with that film, the problem is that none of it is remotely convincing, while all the contrived gags (sheep in a dress, Hitler moustache etc) fall flat because the film is trying too hard.
On top of that, the film has an irritating tendency to beat you into submission with its best jokes (primarily Olivia Newton-John enthusiastically doing cocaine and anything sheep-related) by repeating them over and over until you get sick of them.
Colourful supporting turns ensure that this remains watchable, but it's difficult to engage with any of the characters and the film is ultimately nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is.