It may boast two of Australia’s best known funny men, but Charlie & Boots is anything but amusing, and reminds why Australian cinema is doomed to stay miserable for some time to come.
Shane “Kenny” Jacobson and Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan star as estranged father and son, who in a bid to mend their relationship take a road trip to the northern tip of Australia for a spot of fishing.
What follows is a repetitive 101 min, which consists of: stop at a new town for a bite and snooze; engage with the locals; move on the next day.
The pair, of course, partake in varied shenanigans, featuring humourless and dull comedy geared towards an older demographic, who might still appreciate Hogan’s “ocker” humour. Supposedly, snoring is still considered funny.
The other half of the time feels like an advertisement for rural Australia, with barren landscapes and quirky landmarks given plenty of screen time, as either lead spouts off statistics from a travel brochure. It is enough to make viewers wonder whether they are watching a government funded movie, or tourism campaign.
Success is somewhat achieved in its sweet natured father and son story, thanks to a few surprising plot revelations which does keep interest in the characters alive. But since Charlie and Boots has been marketed as a comedy, it is a big fail.
While we Australians are known to be laidback folk, lazy is another thing altogether, and that exactly is what this film is.
With Dean Murphy offering pedestrian writing and direction, Charlie & Boots falls on the marketing power of its two lead players, neither of whom have anything of substance to offer, proving that Paul Hogan has been coasting on past glories for far too long now, and Shane Jacobson’s Kenny was a one off phenomenon.
What is missing is the one thing that makes Australian drama so popular: soul.
Sure, the likes of Beautiful Kate and Closed for Winter were clichéd and dreary expositions of redemption and tragedy. But at least there was some passion in their expedition.
All Charlie & Boots offers is another example of how Australian comedy at the multiplexes is not that funny at all.