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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

WHO now re­mem­bers Diana and Me, an ill-fated Aus­tralian com­edy about a Wol­lon­gong girl (Toni Col­lette) who wins a trip to Lon­don to have tea with the Princess of Wales? That was in 1997 and, sadly, the princess died be­fore the film could be re­leased. A sim­i­lar mis­for­tune be­fell an­other Aus­tralian com­edy — at least I think it was a com­edy — called Let’s Get Skase (Mon­day, 5.30am, Movie Ex­tra), about a kid­nap mis­sion to bring our best known cor­po­rate scoundrel back to Aus­tralia to face his cred­i­tors. Christo­pher Skase ran an out­fit called Qin­tex and de­frauded any num­ber of in­no­cent and gullible folk be­fore tak­ing refuge abroad, where he en­joyed an im­mu­nity from ex­tra­di­tion. In Matthew Ge­orge’s film, co-writ­ten with Lachy Hulme, a con­man re­cruits a bunch of Aussie mer­ce­nar­ies for a Bond-style raid on Skase’s for­ti­fied man­sion in Ma­jorca. The real Skase was thought­less enough to die on the eve of the film’s re­lease in 2001, which didn’t help the film’s pro­mo­tion (or, one as­sumes, its box of­fice). In­ept and silly though it is, Let’s Get Skase has a kind of dated fas­ci­na­tion. It’s one of those films I love to hate, and can rec­om­mend on those grounds alone.

Two Hands (Satur­day, 6.30pm, Starpics) is high on my list of the best Aus­tralian come­dies, but we don’t hear much of it nowa­days.

Heath Ledger is ter­rific as Jimmy, a would-be hood­lum who botches a job for a Sydney drug dealer (Bryan Brown) and goes on the run with his teenage girl­friend (Rose Byrne, de­light­ful in her first film ap­pear­ance).

Writ­ten and di­rected by Gre­gor Jor­dan, it’s a com­edy of bungling and, un­like most Aus­tralian come­dies, where even the most benev­o­lent au­di­ences are quite likely to be cring­ing with em­bar­rass­ment, the best scenes in Two Hands are gen­uinely, joy­ously funny.

The one I re­mem­ber best is the po­lice car chase, in which a com­mer­cial ra­dio spot­ter car goes af­ter Brown’s char­ac­ter, keen to re­ward him with a lucky num­ber plate prize.

It’s a big week for dog lovers. Red Dog (Satur­day, 1.20pm, Starpics), ev­ery­one’s favourite Aussie dog movie and the high­est gross­ing Aus­tralian film last year, is get­ting an­other show­ing, along with the film it most re­sem­bles, the im­per­ish­able Lassie Come Home (Sun­day, noon, TCM), MGM’s clas­sic tale of ca­nine de­vo­tion. Lassie Come Home is fol­lowed by its two se­quels, Son of Lassie (1.35pm) and Hills of Home (3.20pm). As is now well known, Lassie was ac­tu­ally a male dog, and was played through the years, and in the TV se­ries, by as many as 20 dif­fer­ent dogs, though no one spot­ted the dif­fer­ences and gen­der is­sues were well dis­guised. Lassie Come Home also marked the screen de­but of El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, but it would be many years be­fore she over­took Lassie in box-of­fice rat­ings. Mon­day, 5.30am, Movie Ex­tra

(PG) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 1.20pm, Starpics

(MA15+) ★★★ Satur­day, 6.30pm, Starpics

(M) ★★ ✩✩

Two Hands

Bryan Brown in

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