Dynamic duo deliver a wee ripper
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.
The Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek wrote, directed and star in The Breaker Upperers.