Welcome To Woop Woop

Welcome To Woop Woop


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There is the germ of a scary idea here, which probably incubated in Douglas Kennedy's novel. Stephan Elliott, who burst upon an unsuspecting world with "he Adventures of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, has turned Michael Thomas' script into an Aussie farce. Black humour is sprinkled over kitsch scruff to offset camp frolics. As a celebration of outback vulgarity, you could do worse.

A drop-dead handsome "sept" (septic tank = Yank), with a dodgy past in Stateside con artistry, flees to Oz to suss out white parrots and stay a continent away from the NYPD, who want him for accessary to murder. This silver-tongued, ivory-mouthed charmer is called Teddy (Jonathan Schaech) and he's waylaid at a desert gas station by Angie (Susie Porter), a nymphomaniac virgin, who shags him stupid, knocks him cold, takes him home, marries him and waits for heaven to fall.

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Home is Woop Woop, a lost outpost 80 miles from Alice Springs, surrounded by high rocks, where a community of Fifties retrogrades live for Sound Of Music reruns and the faintest whiff of a Marlboro Lite. They are obsessed with Rogers and Hammerstein, when not chain sawing 'roos for dog food. The code of conduct is tough. Attempting escape, for example, is punishable by death. Daddy-O (Rod Taylot), the lager-sodden, loud-mouthed patriarch, rules OK? Not OK.

Jokes are at the expense of old racist attitudes, when men were men and women were men and animals were taken out and shot. It is a fantasy. Life in Woop Woop could never have been contemplated without commerce, industry, spending money and a mobile phone. Unlike Mad Max, another isolated community fantasy, there is no logic. In comedy, it is assumed, you can do what you like. Not true. You have to breathe the air and drink the water, like everyone else.

Elliot is a stylist, who loves to play. His visuals are flamboyant. The actors find themselves trapped between a cushion and a soft place. Schaech, who was so memorable as the lead singer in Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do!, becomes a casualty of the script. Taylor, unrecognisable from The Birds, lets everything go, especially the beautiful flesh. Porter is reminiscent of a young Dora Bryan, gutsy as a sea squall and up for anything.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Welcome To Woop Woop packshot
A con artist on the run in the Aussie outback finds a town whre they hate to see you leave.
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Director: Stephan Elliott

Writer: Michael Thomas, based on The Dead Heart by Douglas Kennedy

Starring: Jonathan Shaech, Rod Taylor, Susie Porter, Dee Smart

Year: 1998

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia/UK


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