Strange Bedfellows Reviews
Anyone can tell you that Strange Bedfellows begs for comparison to the 2007 comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. The plagiarism rumour has been disproven, but the two films share a very different sense of comedy. Strange Bedfellows relies more on the slow burning comedy charm which comes from the subject of homosexuality affecting a small town of people largely indifferent to the sexuality, while I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a lot more about the over-the-top comedy of homosexual stereotypes. In my opinion, I found I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry a better film strictly because of how much it emphasized just how ridiculous homosexual stereotypes are and the duo of Kevin James and Adam Sandler were great. It was more over the top while Strange Bedfellows emphasized a more quaint Australian charm as one of its most central themes.
Coming from 2004, Strange Bedfellows would have been a lot funnier back in the day as a decade ago homosexuality was a lot more controversial whereas nowadays most people are more open to accepting just how natural it is, so the controversial edge to the film is dated. Also, there aren't too many jokes in the film as the majority of the humour is mainly built on a formula which has been used countless times in other films. The script isn't full of too many jokes as a lot of the film tries to be realistic while it plays on a premise which is pretty farfetched as well, so it isn't exactly comically balanced too well. But it is a charming film. A lot of what happens in the film isn't so much about how it makes viewers laugh but more on how it makes viewers look at elements of the script and think "that's funny". Strange Bedfellows didn't make me laugh all that much, but I did appreciate it for its comedic virtues.
Strange Bedfellows is an easy film to watch. The central theme of the film is not so much about homosexuality, but about genuinely being there for another human being. The friendship shared between the two protagonists is a warm and sentimental concept which makes them likable leading figures, and the light nature of the atmosphere gives them plenty of easy material. The script itself has a lot of natural Australian dialogue to it with a lot of terms purely for Australians to understand. The lush scenery of the film is also beautiful with the fictional setting of Yackandandah easily having the feeling of a quaint small country town. It is all captured with nice cinematography, so there is plenty of colour in the film. And everything plays out against a nice and gentle musical score which reinforces the light mood of the film.
But all the success of Strange Bedfellows really rests on the performances and chemistry of its leading actors.
The fact that Paul Hogan's character Vince Hopgood actually encounters tax problems is incredibly prescient considering that four years later Paul Hogan would become scrutinized for supposed tax evasion. So his presence in Strange Bedfellows even ties into the real world for extra comedy. But what is more important is what he brings to the part as an actor. His performance is not as funny as his more iconic efforts on The Paul Hogan Show or Crocodile Dundee, but it is nice to see him in a more restrained role for once. Strange Bedfellows fails to capitalise on his best talents as a comedic actor, but it does give him an easy role to take on and it is always nice to see him out there. His natural charm is easygoing and brings a smile to the face of audiences. His overconfident and determined nature make him a good character, and seeing him dressed in such revealing clothing in his efforts to be a pseudo-homosexual . Paul Hogan is an easily welcome presence in Strange Bedfellows, and it is one of his funniest films in years.
Michael Caton also does his part. As his character serves as the reluctant one of the duo in terms of participating in the sexuality farce, his serious demeanour brings a good sense of comedy to the role. Him and Paul Hogan make a strong duo because of the contrasting attitudes they bring to the subject matter of the film with Paul Hogan being the gleefully involved character and Michael Hogan being the one with uncertainties. He has relaxed attitude which makes Ralph Williams a great character, and a lot of the humour comes from how much he is pushed by Vince Hopgood. Seeing Michael Caton in such an odd and different role is refreshing because his natural comic charisma makes him a welcome presence in the role, and the way that he interacts with Paul Hogan is great. The two are a very professional duo who clearly benefit from working with each other, and the contrast between their comic personas is one of the funniest aspects about the film. It really is great to see the two legendary Australian comedians paired together, and while the material is not precisely up to their high standard of humour, it does give them a chance to work together which should satisfy countless fans from all over Australia. Michael Caton is really the funnier one of the duo due to mainly how he reacts to all the strange situations in a consistently comic fashion. His performance which is his last film to date reminds us that he still has it in him and that it is a shame he doesn't do films anymore.
Pete Postlethwaite is a welcome presence due to his dramatic attitude, and Glynn Nicholas does his job well enough with all the right stereotypical sexual elements of the character.
So although Strange Bedfellows follows a formula and is not too high on laughs, it has a sentimental charm to it and benefits from the relaxed chemistry between Michael Caton and Paul Hogan.
VERDICT: "Full Price" - My second highest rating (Positive to Mixed reaction). This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent.