Pie re­boot a joy­ous ride

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

of strangers wind up tak­ing an im­promptu road trip from Auck­land to In­ver­cargill in a yellow Mini Cooper, and be­come em­broiled in a se­ries of mishaps on the way. There are car­chases, loyal lo­cals, two-fin­gers-up to the cops. There is ro­man­tic at­trac­tion, dis­il­lu­sion­ment, epiphany. But most im­por­tantly, Mur­phy has up­dated the classic by writ­ing three cen­tral char­ac­ters who feel be­liev­able in this era of so­cial me­dia, mid­dle-age angst and Mil­len­nial protes­ta­tion. And in this re­gard it works.

Cen­tral to any film’s suc­cess, of course, is that we care about the pro­tag­o­nists at least as much as what hap­pens to them. To that end, Mur­phy could do no bet­ter in his cast­ing of a charis­mat­i­cally sham­bolic Dean O’Gor­man (The Hob­bit, The Almighty John­sons), the can-do-no-wrong James Rolle­ston and a ter­rific Ashleigh Cum­mings. As Keira, the head-strong an­i­mal rights ac­tivist, Cum­mings does a su­perb job of bring­ing the ‘‘to­ken girl’’ role into the 21st cen­tury.

As you’d hope, the script is chock­full of Kiwi jar­gon and dead­pan nods to Noo Zild cul­ture. In keep­ing with the orig­i­nal’s style, there is the oc­ca­sional slap­stick mo­ment like the char­ac­ters’ meet-cute at a fast-food restau­rant’s win­dow, and That Classic Line feels shoe-horned in, but the viewer’s eye-rolling is tem­pered by per­for­mances which range from solidly en­dear­ing to sur­pris­ingly af­fect­ing. The car chases are the least in­ter­est­ing as­pect of the Pork Pie films, but here these are nicely ex­e­cuted, and the whole film is beau­ti­fully shot.

Pork Pie is not a per­fect film, but then nei­ther was Good­bye – in­stead, it’s a joy­ous ad­ven­ture in which three di­verse char­ac­ters learn life lessons and teach their au­di­ence not to judge so much. It’s likely to be more sat­is­fy­ing for a new au­di­ence to dis­cover than us old-timers to re­visit, but as a re­fresh­ing re­boot, it couldn’t have been any other way. – Sarah Watt

The three cen­tral char­ac­ters in Port Pie are be­liev­able in this era of so­cial me­dia, mid­dle-age angst and Mil­len­nial protes­ta­tion.

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