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  You Can't Stop the Murders In The Crazy
Year: 2003
Director: Anthony Mir
Stars: Gary Eck, Akmal Selah, Anthony Mir, Richard Carter, Kirstie Hutton, Rob Carlton, Steve Rodgers, Peter Callan, Kenny Graham, Lester Morris, Kitty Flanagan, Steve Abbott, Haskel Daniel, Bruce Venables, Megan Drury, Justine Seymour, Jason Clarke
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sleepy West is a tiny Australian town in the middle of nowhere, where nothing of much significance ever happens, and the local police are reduced to sitting in their patrol car with their speed meter pointed at a stretch of road that often catches out what meagre amounts of passing vehicles there are by having a lower speed limit for a few yards. One of those cops is Gary (Gary Eck), who does not have many dreams in life, but as a lawman comes into contact with the media, and man, he would like a date with reporter Julia Broadmeadows (Kirstie Hutton), but this does not seem to be part of her career plan. He must make do listening to the ramblings of fellow cop Akmal (Akmal Selah).

Not much of a substitute for romance, but Akmal has been his best pal since childhood, and it was that nice, everyone knows everyone else smalltown atmosphere that was exploited for gentle comedy here. Odd to call it gentle, however, when the plot revolved around a serial killer bumping off the citizens, and occasional visitors, to Sleepy West, whose modus operandi involved cutting up his victims into parts more easily arrange in the letters Y.M.C.A. - that's right, he or she was a mass murderer tribute act to the Village People, and as such had plans to bump off a biker, a construction worker, a sailor, a cowboy, an Indian, and eventually the obvious cop - we now worry for Gary.

And Akmal, for that matter, even if it takes them the whole movie to work out what the killer is up to. In Se7en, the John Doe murderer took the seven deadly sins as his inspiration, but as if to point out that was a rather silly motive to bump folks off, You Can't Stop the Murders spoofed it up something rotten, largely because nobody spots the overall grand scheme until the point that it hardly matters anymore. Before that, the three-man writing team, with Anthony Mir doubling as director, preferred to have their fun with the low octane rural comings and goings in this community, where after six murders you would be surprised to learn there was anyone left in the population.

Eck and Selah were the other writers, with background in stand-up comedy making the move to the world of cinema, except this was not the bright lights of Hollywood, it was the decidedly low budget realm of Australian humour where not much was necessary to spend on any great setpieces, and you imagined most of that money went on making the body part props. There was one member of the cast for whom Tinseltown beckoned, and that was Jason Clarke who appeared in a brief role as the biker victim, like everyone here completely getting what they were there for and how to play the offbeat material. For example, there are two biker gangs who have hired the village hall for a ding-dong because their names are so similar they keep receiving each other's mail, and in one case have paid the other gang's gas bill.

That summed up the daft, oddly sweet and generous nature of the laughs, nothing absolutely gutbustingly hilarious but generating a steady stream of chuckles and giggles depending on whether you appreciated its low key, unassuming but deceptively ridiculous stylings. Mir got into the acting lark too when he showed up as a big city cop called into assist, but he quickly reveals himself to be a poseur moron who joined the force because he likes shooting people rather than any great need to serve justice. Julia is smitten nonetheless, much to Gary's chagrin - can he win her round and prove himself the actual hero? There were no real surprises in that department, the film liked its characters too much, and if there were no Village People tunes on the soundtrack, full marks to The Real Thing for allowing use of their seventies hit You To Me Are Everything during Gary's rule-breaking line dancing routine. Nothing dazzling, then, but thoroughly likeable for all that. Music by Jamie Fonti.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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