Strange Bedfellows


Reviewed by: David Haviland

If Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert and Strictly Ballroom made the case for camp modern Australian cinema, then Strange Bedfellows is the brutish rebuttal.

This broad comedy stars Paul Hogan and Michael Caton as two macho, small town firemen, who have to pretend to be a gay couple in order to cash in on a new tax break.

The script's idea of what constitutes "being gay" is predictably crass. The men get a queeny hairdresser to teach them how to mince and pout and then visit a Sydney gay club in outfits The Village People would have rejected as being too cliched.

Eventually, all the characters convene at the town's Fireman's Ball, where one of the men finds out his daughter is gay. How will he react? What will the locals think? Will he inspire them with a moving speech about tolerance and respect, as strings soar in the background?

As if this stock scene were not bad enough, the speech itself argues bizarrely that homosexuality should be tolerated as it is simply another (albeit inferior) form of the Australian tradition of "mateship". Strewth!

It's a pity the script is so offensive, because in other respects the film is quite watchable. Caton gives a winning performance and even Hogan is bearable.

The film is prettily shot and has a sunny jazz score. There are even a handful of funny lines.

"The worst thing about all this isn't that people think I'm gay, it's that people think I'm going out with you."

Reviewed on: 31 Mar 2005
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Two macho Aussies learn tolerance and respect after pretending to be a gay couple.
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Director: Dean Murphy

Writer: Dean Murphy, Stewart Faichney

Starring: Paul Hogan, Michael Caton, Pete Postlethwaite, Amando Monroe, Roy Billing, Kevin Dee, Simon Paton

Year: 2004

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia


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