The Kings of Mykonos: Wogboy 2

Starring Nick Giannopoulos, Vince Colosimo, Alex Dimitriades, Zeta Makrypoulia, and Cosima Coppola. Directed by Peter Andrikidis.
Rated M (Coarse language and sexual references). 102 min.

Nick Giannopoulos (as Steve) and Vince Colosimo (as Frank) return in this sequel after starring in the original, “The Wogboy,” which was enormously successful. The movie, filmed on location in Melbourne and Greece, as well as the previous film, have capitalised on the phenomenal success of the 1987 stage production, “Wogs out of Work” which starred Giannopoulos. The movie depends a lot on a dedicated audience that liked the original film. If one is part of that audience, the sequel will undoubtedly appeal.

The film’s plot puts Steve and Frank on a Greek Island that is inherited by Steve, the original “Wogboy” Karamitsis, from an uncle whom he has never seen. The setting is terrific and the movie nicely captures the Greek island’s idyllic beauty. Early in the film, Steve’s beloved ’69 Valiant car is impounded, and Frank’s partner throws him out. Things are going badly, when news of the generous inheritance reaches them. Steve will inherit the island, so long as he can pay a huge tax on it. There is a real-estate swindle to try to do him out of his inheritance, and he sets about tracking down his true father, which may save him from paying the tax he owes. The islanders try initially to dupe him, but then marshal forces to help. The plot is a very thin one overall, but it is not intended to be subtle. The added cost of production shows, and the film is mounted handsomely.

With comedies of this kind that skirt the edge of offensive stereotyping, it is important to draw the distinction between movies that laugh at what they satirize, and those which turn the laughter against themselves. There is a little bit of both in this movie, but essentially the film is good fun and asks the viewer not to think too critically about a whole lot of issues, including religion, family relationships, race, and culture. The jokes are mostly at the expense of Greeks, Australians and Germans, and women are photographed almost entirely for their sex appeal. The language in the movie is predictably coarse, as one would expect, and some of it is funny, and some not. There are genuinely comic scenes such as the entire ensemble doing a spirited Greek dance at the end of the movie, but generally most of the scenes in this sequel lack real social bite.

This is a movie you tend not to have too high an expectation of, and hence it is not likely to disappoint. It will be popular, and knowing what to expect will help to make the movie an enjoyable experience for those who go to see it. The sequel loses the sharpness of the stage production and the original film, which was delivered through cultural shock and clever scripting; rather, it trades the risk of confrontation for routine adventure-romance and almost travelogue appeal. The film’s comic moments are obvious and blunt, and its humour is very broad.

Home-grown comedies that satirize race relationships and cultural tolerance these days have moved to a smarter level of sophistication than what this film offers. However, the movie is light-hearted and aims unashamedly to please.

Screen Australia   Out May 20, 2010.

Peter W. Sheehan is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.

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