Yep, the stand-up comedians are taking over the Australian film industry, and the results aren't pretty. Wherever you look there's a team of close-knit comics slapping together a script and a bit of finance and guffawing their way through their favourite skits, send-ups and set pieces. Sometimes it works (Crackerjack or The Castle for instance) and other times the results are intermittently amusing (The Craic or Bad Eggs). Then there's Take Away, a dreadfully dumb revenge comedy, written by Dave O'Neill and Mark O'Toole, and directed by Marc Gracie (Wogs Out of Work, The Craic).
The premise is cute enough. Rival Fish 'n' Chip shop owners Tony (Vince Colosimo) and Trev (Stephen Curry) must join forces when a greedy multinational burger franchise (a distinctly Macca-esque 'Burgies') sets up next door. The scenario is nicely established, with the slobby Curry counterpointing the clean and earnest Colosimo, but Rose Byrne, Nathan Phillips and Brett Swain stand around like wide-eyed extras in a school play.
Take Away contains some very funny sketches, including a ripper of an opening sequence, but these don't hold together as a story. Likeable characters become increasingly brainless and annoying as the film progresses, with the whole thing resolving itself in a puerile and overlong visual gag. And what's with the constant jokes about buggery?
(This review originally appeared in The Big Issue, Aust edn, #184