Dy­namic duo de­liver a wee rip­per

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE -

for years.

James Rolle­ston’s hot-but­dumb teenage rugby-head Lothario is a ge­nius cre­ation (so good to see Rolle­ston back in a role that uses his preter­nat­u­ral comic tim­ing). Around this core of three, a se­lec­tion of fa­mil­iaror-not faces from the New Zealand comedy scene – in­clud­ing an oblig­a­tory but very funny Je­maine Cle­ment cameo – all turn up as mem­o­rable char­ac­ters.

The Breaker Up­per­ers is shame­lessly con­trived, will do pretty much any­thing for a laugh (the fun­ni­est scene, maybe, is of the two women pre­tend­ing to be strip­pers, to es­cape be­ing busted for im­per­son­at­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

It re­ally doesn’t con­vince at all, but you’ll be too busy laugh­ing to care) and never lets up the pace from be­gin­ning to end.

And if you had any reser­va­tions at all about the fi­nal few scenes di­alling back on the an­ar­chy and glee­ful cal­lous­ness to al­low ev­ery­one a hug and some ‘‘learn­ings’’, then the dance se­quence that breaks out as the cred­its roll should be enough to dis­pel them.

One of the Amer­i­can pa­pers – writ­ing about the film at its South By South West fes­ti­val premier last month – made the point that The Breaker Up­per­ers seems to ex­ist in Taika Waititi’s uni­verse. I get that.

Yes, you will be able to imag­ine Ricky Baker and Hec some­where in the tree­line just across town. And that’s a fine thing.

Waititi – who is an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on The Breaker Up­per­ers – has per­fected a cin­e­matic short­hand of very smart char­ac­ters who strug­gle to ex­press them­selves, of hon­esty even­tu­ally tri­umph­ing over de­cep­tion, and a pearl of real loss and sad­ness be­ing pro­tected by layers of jokes and dis­trac­tions.

The Breaker Up­per­ers does share some of that DNA. But it is also a film that stands alone and writes its own rules.

I think The Breaker Up­per­ers is the fun­ni­est and most like­able film I’ve seen this year. Go see it.

Graeme Tuck­ett

The Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek wrote, di­rected and star in The Breaker Up­per­ers.

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