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Kath and Kimderella

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Kath Day-Knight (Jane Turner) and daughter Kim (Gina Riley) had their genesis in a sketch in the mid-'90s show Big Girl’s Blouse and they never got very far up the evolutionary ladder of blue-collar aspiration. For four seasons and a telemovie Kath, all perm, pastels and malapropism (“look at that beautiful muriel!”), pursued lower middle-class interests with butcher husband Kel (Glenn Robbins) while the monstrously self-entitled Kim bossed around her husband Brett (Peter Rowsthorn) and second-best friend Sharon (Magda Szubanski). Characters made of catchphrases and suburban self-delusion were always going to be tough to transfer to the big screen and Turner and Riley have wisely gotten director Ted Emery to point his camera at the sweeping cityscape of Positano on the Amalfi Coast, standing in for the Spano-Italianate principality of Papilloma. Here the “foxy morons” catch the eye of the bankrupt King Javier (Rob Sitch) and his Phantom of the Opera-like son while court lackey Alain (Richard E Grant) rolls his eyes like marbles.

A silly and facile set-up is redeemed by a wealth of incident and pace. Kim stumbles through more fairy tale scenarios than Mother Goose – an ugly sister convinced she’s a princess – and Kath finds herself in the role of a Fountain Lakes Jane Eyre. Haw-hawing snobs Prue and Trude turn up living out the Toorak version of an Italian idyll (pasta-making classes feature) and series regular Marg Downey delights as Marion, the femme fatalish psychotherapist who tries an unusual method to cure Kel of his fear of flying. A pointless appearance by Dame Edna does the film no favours but cameos by other Oz-com mainstays generally pay off. There are duels, balls, a royal wedding and sinister eyes glaring from behind holes in portraits – it’s Carry On stuff, with veteran overactor Grant perfectly at home in the campy Kenneth Williams role. More could have been made of Szubanski’s storyline but for fans of the show, it’ll all fit as snugly as a glass Ugg boot.

Written by Nick Dent
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