Review: ‘Housos vs Authority’ (MA) *** and a half

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TO date, my life has been sheltered from writer/director/producer/lead actor Paul Fenech’s “Housos”, now on the big screen after airing on SBS.

Approaching the film with a mind unsullied by expectation blew away my innocence. The film is full-on, no-holds-barred, no-opportunity-foregone, no-institution-held-sacred satirisation of the detritus of Australian society.

Fenech films the days in the lives of folk living in Sunnyvale in Sydney’s west, bottom-feeders in the ooze beneath the Oz pond. For us cinema-goers, the experience ranges from hilarious to mildly thought-provoking.

SBS has announced that it will give the series another season. It’s unlikely to have the full complement of the movie’s grunge factors that compel us to put aside priggish restraints and laugh at its visual and verbal wit and its blissful embrace of elements that would infuriate the sanctimonious.

Such plot the film has involves Shazza (Elle Dawe), her de facto Dazza (Jason Davis) together with Maori father of the year Kev (Kev Taumata), his wife Vanessa (Vanessa Davis) and thong-throwing wide boy Franky (Fenech) who do a deal with the Sunnyvale bikie chapter to drive in a borrowed van to Uluru so Shazza can sprinkle her mother’s ashes. Slimness of plot leaves space for the film to take the mickey out of Kiwis, Lebs, Abos, Parliament, Julia Gillard, the cops, the welfare system, midgets, community clubs, strippers, national heritage sites, citizens’ rights and the judicial system.

The film’s dedicated to the late Ian Turpie. Make of that what you will as you laugh, despite your better judgement.

At Hoyts and Limelight

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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