The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie (Australia 1972)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/26/17
Cast: Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries

Rated NPA: No Poofters Allowed

The two-star rating is rather generous, but I'm trying to take into account the age of the film, the social sensibilities of the time, and the obvious cultural barrier to entry. Based on an Australian comic strip created by Barry Humphries, "The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie" is a comedy sketch film about a rough and rude Australian (Barry Crocker) who visits England with his aunt Edna (Barry Humphries) as part of an agreement in his father's will. The film has no sense of direction and bounces from one crude moment to the next as Barry finds himself in a cigarette commercial with a lusty starlet, paired with the daughter of a perverse war veteran, strapped into a straight jacket by a wacko shrink, making music with a group of hippies, being chased by a detective who accuses him of indecency, getting naked on live television, and forming a fire brigade that puts out a fire by urinating on it. The film also claims to feature the very first uncensored vomiting scene in cinematic history, and popularized the term "chunder" in a musical number about throwing up in the Pacific Ocean.

It's a far more mean-spirited film than the sequel, "Barry McKenzie Holds His Own" (1974), and focuses more on outrageous gross-out humor than clever gags. Barry is much more crass and abrasive in this film, and is always getting into fights and telling someone off with filthy Australian slang. Rather than being a good-natured and lovably naïve goofball, he's perpetually drunk, and when he's not looking for a cold tube of Foster's, he's trying to take a piss. The Australian dialog is nearly impenetrable and the cultural colloquialisms are mostly lost on me. There are some laughs to be had, but I found most of the film to be dull and offensive. The loose and confusing narrative is all over the place and the low budget production values are pretty poor. It's interesting as a slice of cultural history, but that's about it.

Memorable quotes:
"Now listen mate, I need to splash the boots. You know, strain the potatoes. Water the horses. You know, go where the big knobs hang out. Shake hands with the wife's best friend? Drain the dragon? Siphon the python? Ring the rattlesnake? You know, unbutton the mutton? Like, point Percy at the porcelain?"

"She used to bang like an outhouse door in a gale."

"Let me whip out my utensil and shake hands with the unemployed."