Details: (MA15+), 81 mins, Australia, English
Synopsis: The aspiring illusionist and pony riding Ned Kelly (Abe Forsyth) applies for the job of the fourth gang member with Dan Hughes (Nick Flint), Steve Hart (Damon Herriman) and Joe Byrne (Josef Ber) and they proceed to rob the bank at Glenrowan. Over and over again. They also visit the Glenrowan Slut Palace. The whacky gang – in which Joe is hoping to steal enough money for his sex change operation – is specially targeted by the poncy English Governor Sinclair (Felix Williamson). And the reason is a secret that is even more bizarre than the gang itself. Dan Hughes hides his own secret, one that will shake Ned’s view of himself.
A crazy spoof of the Ned Kelly story.
In present day Glenrowan an old codger forces the story of Ned on a reluctant young listener. We learn how Ned rebelled against his rubber-growing father (Jeremy Sims) because he wants to be the world's greatest illusionist. Running off on his horse Muffy, well, he thinks it's a horse, grabbing the family's mailbox on the way, he applies for the position of fourth bushranger in the Dan Hughes gang and gets the job. Dan (Nick Flint) just doesn't hack it as the leader of his motley lot, comprising cross-dressing Joe Byrne (Josef Ber) and the maniacal Steve Hart (Damon Herriman). All too soon all the attention is being paid to Ned. On their track is Governor Sinclair (Felix Williamson), a hamster-loving fop.
It's fumbles and bumbles all over the place. One thing Ned has going for it are the performances – they're played for real and they work for the rather adolescent humour that is the major stuff of the film. The problem with pitching a film at this level of silliness is maintaining the momentum and the hilarity, and while Ned starts off bright and fresh, the humour tends to wear a bit thin after a while, particularly when you have to take care of a convoluted plot that deals with misconceptions and syphilitic plagues, whorehouses and midgets, bank robberies and card tricks.
Ned actually reminded me of the comedy of Yahoo Serious with films like Young Einstein and Reckless Kelly, the innocent idiot let loose on the world. This alternate history of the legendary hero with its nod to a television audience – Cornelia Frances, Jason Donovan, Andrew Daddo and Big Brother cast member Johnny Cass are featured. It has its moments but not quite enough of them for me. Abe Forsythe, son of actor Drew Forsythe, was obviously aiming at a young audience.
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