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  Barry McKenzie Holds His Own Up From Down Under
Year: 1974
Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries, Donald Pleasence, Dick Bentley, Louis Negin, Paul Humpoletz, Beatrice Aston, Nancy Blair, Chantal Contouri, Ed Devereaux, Arthur English, Robert Gillespie, Deryck Guyler, Clive James, Roy Kinnear, John Le Mesurier
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Barry McKenzie (Barry Crocker) is flying to Paris with his auntie, Edna Everage (Barry Humphries), little knowing there are a couple of agents from Transylvania on the plane who have their eye on her. They think she is Queen Elizabeth II, and that Barry is her bodyguard, which is why they are following them with a view to kidnapping and taking her back home with them. The Aussies remain oblivious to this, and when Barry gets up to use the toilet, he notices some old friends downing a few cans of Foster's and is happy to join them. But his dislike of anything non-Australian is about to get far more pronounced...

The sequel to The Adventures of Barry McKenzie was, if anything, even more offensive than the original as good taste went flying out of the window in the first few minutes and never returned. The film actually begins with a supposed Australian cultural minister singing the praises of his homeland's forays into newfound artistic respectability, derived, it is implied, through the success of Bazza's previous outing (which was a genuinely big hit both in Australia and the U.K., if not with the cognoscenti). But we're not fooled, as this is simply the initial example of the targets including anyone who wanders into screenwriters Humphries and Bruce Beresford's sights.

That includes Australians themselves, as if nothing else this movie is an equal opportunity offender, portrayed as they are as being obsessed with getting drunk and congress with Sheilas which if this lot are anything to go by they never get to. As before, Bazza may talk the talk, but he doesn't have much success with the opposite sex, and even when women are throwing themselves at him he's completely nonplussed as to what to do. But don't go thinking that this is solely concerned with self-deprecation, as there's one thing the Australians in this have no doubt about and that is that their country of origin is the finest in the world; by the end of this you might well be agreeing with them.

That's if you're not a whingeing Pom who has been so insulted at the treatment of your compatriots that you've stopped watching halfway through, although the French are also sent up this time around, with Bazza even vomiting off the Eiffel Tower. But considering how many Brits are in the cast of this, they cannot really take too much umbrage as seeing ourselves as others see us can be educational, and there's rarely a sense that the filmmakers really set out to start a war between the nations. Among those guest stars are the likes of Deryck Guyler and Frank Windsor as bobbies, John Le Mesurier on a game show where the prize is winning entry to Oz, and Tommy Trinder as the convict ghost of Barry's ancestor.

Winning the lion's share of guest star screen time is Donald Pleasence as Erich Count Plasma, patently enjoying himself in the chance to play broad comedy and send up his customary horror roles. It is he who wants to kidnap Edna (not a Dame yet - wait till the end for a change in title), although his reasons for doing so are somewhat hard to fathom, but the storming of his castle doesn't take place until the final half hour. Before that, it's travelogue time as Bazza's twin brother shows up as a priest (holding a sermon on "Christ and the Orgasm", apparently) in Paris, then it's off to London with Bazza's mates (who number an inebriated Clive James amongst them) on the hunt for his auntie and lots of gags about stepping in dogshit. In truth, all this relentless racism, sexism and generally overbearing humour does get exhausting, but the anything goes stylings compensate, and there are some strong laughs here. A second sequel was never made, but these two films lodged Barry McKenzie into the Australian consciousness. Music by Peter Best.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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