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Thursday, 13 January 2000

The Wog Boy

It's not exactly a surprise that a movie made by the team behind Wogs Out Of Work and the countless related spin-offs (including the TV show Acropolis Now) should end up being titled The Wog Boy. What is surprising is that there's more to this than a bunch of stereotype-based jokes: sure, Steve (Nick Giannopoulos) is a self-confessed 'wog boy', complete with hotted-up Valiant, Travolta-inspired moves with his fellow chick magnet Frank (Vince Colosimo) down the night clubs, and a childhood spent playing on a concrete garden. When a trip down to the dole office leads to a fender-bender with the evil employment minister (Geraldine Turner), it's not long before Steve's being attacked by a national current affairs show (hosted by Derryn Hinch) as "the nation's biggest dole bludger". Steve's wog boy charm turns his follow-up appearance on the show into a triumph as he goes from bludger to battler - exactly the kind of person the employment minister needs to launch her own final solution to the unemployment problem... They've gone out of their way to broaden this film's appeal beyond those viewers with first-hand experience of multi-cultural bingo matches and "the curl gets the girl" approach to clubbing, and for the most part it works: showing politicians as liars is always a winner (especially if they're sex-crazed to boot), and bagging the tabloid media isn't going to lose them any friends either. But it's still the wog jokes that work the best (you'll be lucky to hear a lot of the dialogue over the laughs), and the constant swinging between ethnic humour, political satire, romance (both Frank and Steve find true love), and some moments of serious drama leaves this a bit all over the place. Think of The Wog Boy as a Four Corners pizza: not all of it's going to be to your taste, but somewhere in there is something you're definitely going to like.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #213)