Pie reboot a joyous ride
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.