Monday, February 7, 2011

DVD REVIEW: Les Patterson Saves the World (1987)

Pt. 3 of 6 reviews from the OZPLOITATION VOLUME 3 (6-Disc Set)

LABEL: Umbrella Entertainment
REGION: Region 0 PAL
RATING: M (R equivalent)
DIRECTOR: George Miller
CAST: Barry Humphries, Graham Kennedy, Pamela Stephenson, Joan Rivers

PLOT: The one-time Australian Minster for the Yarts, Sir Leslie Colin Patterson KBE (Barry Humphries), is a lecherous, drunken, chain-smoking slob and vaunted cultural attache. Now, Sir Les has received a promotion, as Australia's ambassador to the United Nations, and is sent to an oil-rich Gulf state to try to make peace after a UN blunder. Embracing his diplomatic duties with devil-may-care aplomb, Les escapes a firing squad before discovering a diabolical plan to hold the world to biological ransom. Meanwhile, undercover CIA agent Dame Edna Everage arrives on a "Possums For Peace' tour and sets out with the Aussie ambassador extraordinaire to save the world!
FILM: Les Patterson Saves the World (1987) is a farcical political/spy satire featuring Australian funnyman Barry Humphries as the drunken and lecherous Sir Leslie Patterson, Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations. The story begins as Les is addressing the U.N. and accidentally sets fire to the leader of Middle Eastern country of AbuNeveah when his alcohol-fueled flatulence is inadvertently ignited by a cigar - so yeah, that's what your in for here folks, don't expect high art just a few good belly laughs and a snicker or two here and again. Seen as an embarrassment to his county Sir Les is sent to AbuNeveah by the Aussie Prime Minister to smooth things over with the vengeful dictator fully realizing Sir Les will most probably be executed in short order upon stepping foot in the country. Les arrives just as a military coup puts Colonel Richard Godowni (Thaao Penghlis) into power who along with French scientist named Dr. Herpes are plotting to spread a viral plague called H.E.L.P. throughout the Western world through the distribution of infected toilet seats. H.E.L.P. is  a nasty bit of biological warfare which inflicts it's victim with near instantaneous green puss-filled sores leading to a painful and oozing demise. Les quite obliviously to this fact stumbles upon the plot and with the assistance of the pink-haired undercover C.I.A. super-spy Dame Edna Everage (also played by Humphries) set out to thwart the diabolical plan. The Russians also figure into the equation as this is an 80's political comedy - gotta have some interference from the Soviet Union, right? And the icing on the cake in a brief yet over-the-top performance from comedian Joan Rivers as the American President. Truly some wacky goings-on here.
"I would like to present you with a small hairy token from down under"
- Dame Edna Everage

Truly, the story arc of the film doesn't hold together but the film still manages to come off as an absurd 80's comedy packed with an unending parade of bawdy humor and sexual innuendo, completely in bad taste and good silly fun if a bit uneven. Humphries as the witty and crass Australian politico is a sight to behold. Mixed-in with the madcap shenanigans are some great gross-out gags involving the H.E.L.P.  virus which are pretty decent for a mid-80's comedy.

DVD: Les Patterson Saves the World (1987) comes to us in a 16:9 enhanced original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio and armed with a generous amount of supplemental material including an Alternate Ending (1:51) and Reflections on My Attempt to Save the World - Interview with Barry Humphries (23:24) a lengthy and informative interview with Humphries who seems a bit embarrassed by the film. He attempts to dissuade us that the virus in the film is meant in anyway to the allude to AIDS epidemics that was ravaging Australia at the time but it's a weak argument. The interview is peppered with footage from the film, good stuff. The disc included ion this OZPLOITATION VOL. 3 set appears to have th the bonus features from Umbrella Entertainment's single disc edition.

- Reflections on My Attempt to Save the World - Interview with Barry Humphries (23:24)
- Radio Interview with Barry Humphries with George Moore

- Radio Advertisements
- Alternate Ending (1:51)
- Stills Gallery (52 Images)
- PDF of Feature Film Script
- Umbrella Entertainment Trailer: Barry McKenzie Hold His Own 16:9 (1:17), The Adventures of Barry McKenzie 16:9 (2:19), The Naked Bunyip 16:9 (1:10), The Great MacCarthy 16:9 (3:40)

VERDICT: Les Patterson Saves the World (1987) is an irreverent 80's comedy that will most definitely appeal to fans of AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY (1997) which would seem to owe a debt of gratitude towards the Aussie comedy by my reckoning. Not a great film by any means but definitely a good time in the tradition of other nutty yet imperfect  80's comedy gems like SPIES LIKE US (1985) and WEIRD SCIENCE (1985). Politically incorrect comedies like this just aren't being made today so be glad be have boozy bloke Sir Leslie Patterson to see us through these PC times - NO WORRIES!  ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)

This is pt. 3 of six reviews forthcoming from UMBRELLA ENTERTAINMENT's OZPLOITATION VOL. 3. It's chock full of Aussie Ozploitation goodness featuring some of the most madcap and erotic exploitation films from the land down under. Prepare yourself for reviews of the following films to come your way in short order. Listed below are the other six films on the set. Up next for review: BARRY McKENZIE HOLDS HIS OWN (1974)