Since Australia is so far away it may as well be its own planet, I had no idea who Nick Giannopoulos was before settling in for The Wannabes. I soon learned that Nick is a very popular comedian down under, and this news buoyed my spirits: I know a few Aussies, and every damn one of 'em is a funny bugger.As trite as this sounds: comedy demolishes cultural boundaries. Sure, there's always some sort of local dialect or slang that may lose something in the international translation, but for the most part: funny is funny.
And The Wannabes is pretty damn funny.
Nick G. wrote, directed and quite capably stars in this broad and consistently entertaining farce. If it sucked across the board, he'd get the blame. Since the movie had me giggling all over the place, Nick gets the credit.
Giannopoulos plays Danny, a wholly untalented (and unemployable) young actor who's perpetually stuck in the early 1980s. Danny's only claim to fame is a howlingly inauspicious rendition of a Grease tune on a televised talent show. The sort of talent show that has a big gong right offstage.
Now all grown up, Danny spends his days teaching silly dance steps to senior citizens. His routine is altered when a group of rather intense-looking thugs hire Danny to 'tutor' them in the ways of musicianship. That the gang are planning on using their newfound skills of kiddie entertainment as a ruse for a massive heist should come as no surprise.
Danny, obviously, has no freakin' clue what's going on.
The first half of The Wannabes details Danny's ridiculous efforts at teaching the criminals how to sing, dance, and wear giant fluffy costumes. There's also a stunningly adorable love interest (as played by the stunningly adorable Isla Fisher) for Danny to stumble over, and a host of colorful goodballs (some friendly, mostly not).
The densely plotted insanity gets a bit wackier as we get to the big show: a posh mansion party for a bunch of snotty rich kids. The heist is (for lack of a better word) on.
The Wannabes is not much more than a big broad and gloriously silly comedy flick, and that's just fine by me. As you'll find in even the best farces ever lensed, a handful of the gags thud weakly, though I'd wager the flick's batting average is impressive enough.Imagine Death to Smoochy meets Ocean's Eleven, only funnier than both of those. If this sort of movie is what Nick G. is generally known for in his native land, I'm looking forward to a few more imports.