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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Strange Bedfellows
Strange Bedfellows
Screen Media Films // R // July 5, 2005
List Price: $27.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeff Paramchuk | posted September 30, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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There are only a handful of Australian movies that actually make an impact in North America, and even fewer of those are Australian comedies. Strange Bedfellows follows the same destiny as a slew of other Aussie comedies and slides into the category of "not very good".

While the premise for Strange Bedfellows does have some promise, two aged men who are struck down by the taxman yearly hear about a newly created tax break where same-sex couples are granted the same rights as mixed-sex marriages. In order to get the tax cuts, the two old-timers Ralph Willams (played by Michael Caton) and Vince Hopgood (Paul Hogan) send a letter to the Australian Tax Authority filing for exemption, expecting that everything was confidential. But in small town Yackandandah, the postman is a less than careful man who literally throws the mail at the corner store when it's time to be delivered. Coincidentally enough, the same day a return letter from the ATA arrives, a shipment of Holy Water comes for the town priest, and thanks to the carelessness of the postman, mail gets wet and the store operator sees the contents of the letter, which not only mentions their application for same-sex status, but that an auditor is coming to speak with them.

Now Ralph and Vince have been friends for ages and that shows, Vince was recently divorced and Ralph has a child, but when the gossip mill in this tiny town starts grinding, everyone starts noticing things about Ralph and Vince that seem out of the ordinary, lending credibility to their status as a "couple". To help aid in their bid to prove to the pending audit that they are in fact a gay couple, Ralph and Vince enlist the help of the stereotypical gay hairdresser who runs the town salon to help teach them the way to be gay. A road trip to Sydney to brush up on clothing and the nightlife of gay culture does offer some moderately funny moments, but it really was just the same joke repeating itself; straight men acting gay while their homophobic small town reels at the possibility of two of their own actually being gay.

As a comedy, there are some decent moments of humor that Caton and Hogan pull off quite well, and once scene in particular helps drive this point home as well as prove the loyalty of these two men to one another. The men are filling out the taxation forms, and bicker over little things like who has to be listed as the spouse of the other; and the also prove their innocence of the topic at hand when discussing "orientation", instead of talking sexual, Ralph discusses the direction his house faces. Moments like this make the movie slightly enjoyable, but the majority it being stereotyping and recycling of jokes drags the movie out longer than it actually is.

The DVD

How's it look:

Strange Bedfellows is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphically enhanced definition on this DVD release from Universal. The quality of the transfer however is merely average. It's definitely not something you'll use to brag and show off your system, unless it's someone visiting you from Yackandandah where you can show them how quaint their sleepy little town looks. Colors are slightly dull, but I didn't notice any excessive dirt or pixelation during the movie either, thus making it a relatively average transfer.

How's the Sound:

Strange Bedfellows is set with a 2 channel Dolby Stereo Surround option and nothing else. But because it's a comedy and doesn't really feel the need to try and use the surrounds, it does quite well. Audio is sharp and crisp, but for people not familiar with the Aussie accent, you might find yourself wanting to use the subtitles that are included to help make the movie that much more clear.

Extras:

The extras on here are very slim, limited to text filmographies for selected cast, and also interviews with Hogan, Caton and director Dean Murphy. The interviews are your basic PR fluff and don't really add much to the experience of the movie.

Closing Thoughts:

While definitely not a horrible movie, Strange Bedfellows was a one trick pony whose trick wore thin early in the film. Sure it's a good look at some of the stereotypes that people have of both gay culture, as well as small town culture, but that doesn't make it something that is really worth watching. The lack of extra content also detracts a lot from the overall DVD, making it worth a rental at most. My overall recommendation however is to skip this one.
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