It’s difficult to know exactly where to start with A FEW LESS MEN, the puzzling sequel to 2011’s surprise international hit A Few Best Men. The original film confronted us with such salient issues as retrieving cocaine from a lipstick wearing ram’s anus. Director Mark Lamprell will no doubt please fans of Stephan Elliott’s first outing, especially if you thought comedy peaked with Weekend at Bernie’s. For the rest of us, it’s more a matter of endurance.
The sequel picks up moments after the first film ended, with the married David (Xavier Samuel) standing by his mates Tom (Kris Marshall) and Graham (Kevin Bishop) just as their friend Luke (James Helm) topples off the Blue Mountains. What follows is an attempt to get Luke’s body back to the UK, but this funeral is even more disastrous than the previous wedding.
Still stuck in a backpacker vision of Australia that ceased a good 30 years ago, and perpetuated on Buzzfeed articles like ’37 Ways that Australia is Batshit Crazy,’ the joke wasn’t terribly funny the first time around. Indeed, back then we said it “isn’t a complete disaster, although it comes pretty close.” It retrospect, we were being generous. Australia’s ability to laugh at itself is certainly put to the test in a series jokes that range from “a snake bit my cock” to horny old women in Kombi vans.
Comedy is always so deeply subjective and A FEW LESS MEN is a particular brand of comedy. There is undoubtedly a broad appeal to the scatalogical humour here. Yet it’s also the kind of insidious comedy that is consciously transphobic and homophobic. In Shane Jacobson’s mercifully brief cameo, the Psycho inspired scene asks the male leads to “dress up as trannies.” (That’s a direct quote). Earlier, Bishop’s character attempts to get out of a situation by claiming “I’m a gay.” This might have barely passed for comedy in bawdy undergraduate humour in 1950s, but in 2017 it is both disturbing and simply not good enough.
By the third joke about pants-shitting, sandwiched as they are between corpse boners and straight-up rehashes of the first film, you’ll be begging for the sweet release of death, or at least an old-fashioned eye-gouging. If you have a love of humanity, do it a favour by avoiding this film like the plague and steering the world clear of the inevitable third entry to the series.