If you like a bit of low-culture comedy, there’s no lower on Australian TV than those Foxy Morons from Fountain Lakes, Kath & Kim.
It was one of the best Aussie TV show’s ever; an affectionate ode to crass Australians and a clever mocking of high society. Now they finally get their own big screen movie.
Kath (Jane Turner) and her whiney daughter Kim (Gina Riley) win a trip to “Papiloma” Italy. With Sharon in tow (Magda Szubanski), the Foxy Ladies leave Fountain Lakes for the mecca of High Society.
Needless to say, it goes to their heads while visiting a historic castle and the bankrupt King (Rob Sitch) mistakes them for wealthy and schemes to seduce Kath out of her riches.
For a while, they live a charmed fairytale life and get pampered in Papiloma. Sharon falls for the King's scheming acolyte (Richard E Grant), while the King's son fancies Kim. But when Kath's husband Kel (Glenn Robbins) sees them on TV, he flies over — like a knight in shining armour — to win Kath back.
Amid the hype of seeing Kath & Kim back and on the big screen, it seems everyone has forgotten that IT’S A BIT LATE PEOPLE! Kath & Kim finished its four-season run in 2007. It should have ended with a movie. So it really seems five years too late, like it’s run its race, and feels awkward to welcome it back.
That said, it is good to have the bogun duo back and getting their due on the big screen. And the film works best early on, in Fountain Lakes, as we get reacquainted with all the daggy characters. It’s cheerful, funny and fast paced – and you go with it.
But that goodwill soon fizzles out, as the formula that made a great half-hour sitcom doesn’t work so when it’s stretched out to 90 minutes.
A lot of critics complained that the girls should have never gone to Italy; why take it out of Fountain Lakes and all the crazy characters there? But I get that. As I said earlier, these are low-brow girls trying to be high-brow and thinking they are. So plonking them in the high-culture of European royalty is a great way to give them that fairytale come true.
Yet the characters that replace the Fountain Lakes favourites — the Italian royalty — are dreadfully unfunny. Rob Sitch plays the King in a bad wig with heavy eye-liner. He’s like something out of a bad Mills & Boon book. And why do they make Grant speak in rhyming couplets? Weird and unfunny!
The production values are really low too. There’s bad lighting, clunky editing and garish costumes and make-up. It almost plays like a Carry On movie, and as one critic said, “this isn’t comedy – it’s horror!”
But there are some funny moments. Kim sings “My Humps” on the harpsichord, Kel (Robbins) gets naked on the plane, Frank Woodley turns up to fine effect and even Dame Edna makes a bizarre cameo.
But these moments are too few and far between when stretched out to movie length. Indeed, their 2005 tele-film Da Kath & Kim Code is much better than this.
SCORE: 4 / 10