Two Little Boys (MA15+) — 3 stars
Bret McKenzie, Hamish Blake, Maaka Pohatu
DIRECTOR ROBERT SARKIES
REVIEW LUCY GIBSON
You'll like this if you liked A Film With Me In It, Scarfies, Carry Me Back.
Everyone loves a good bromance and you get the feeling watching Two Little Boys that Bret McKenzie and Hamish Blake had just as many laughs off screen as on while traversing the South Island of New Zealand filming this black comedy.
McKenzie and Blake have ditched their respective comedy partners and ventured into their first lead roles in a feature film in Kiwi director Robert Sarkies' third picture. And while it's certainly no Flight of the Conchords - McKenzie's main project alongside Jemaine Clement - and much darker than the comedy we've come to expect from one half of Hamish and Andy - it's a funny enough first outing for the pair of respected comedians.
Set in New Zealand in 1993, when people thought it cool to walk around with mullets and wear stonewash jeans, Two Little Boys tells the story of a couple of bogan mates, Nige and Deano, whose long-term friendship seems to have run its course.
It's McKenzie's character, the dim Nige, we meet first, driving down an Invercargill street in the middle of the night.
It doesn't take long for us to see how inept Nige is as, in a crazy sequence of events involving a meat pie and a cat, he somehow manages to run over a Norwegian backpacker.
Desperate for help, he turns to his old pal Deano (Blake), who he has known for years but has since ditched in favour of his new friend, the more well-adjusted Gav (Maaka Pohatu).
Deano sees Nige's predicament as the perfect opportunity to prove his undying loyalty to his friend and so the trio set off on an adventure to dispose discreetly of the traveller's remains in New Zealand's southern hinterland.
Disposing of bodies seems to be a popular theme in movies and Two Little Boys follows a formula of charting how the trio cope with the pressure of keeping their dastardly deed a secret.
However, Sarkies' film, based on the novel of the same name by his brother Duncan, is, at its heart, a tale of friendships and how sometimes they can be too much of a good thing.
As one New Zealand reviewer pointed out, Two Little Boys does for mateship what Psycho did for moteliers and their mums.
The film does drag at times but there is something quite endearing about the comedic chemistry between the two leads in this grim but entertaining bromance.
Sarkies has also done a good job contrasting the beautiful landscape of New Zealand's South Island with Deano's darkening mood as he plots to bump off Gav.
Whether Two Little Boys will be as appreciated here as in New Zealand remains to be seen.
But while it's packed with in-jokes about the Land of the Long White Cloud, there are enough generically entertaining moments to garner some laughs.