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The Honourable Wally Norman (2003)

  Directed by: Ted Emery
Written by: Andrew Jones, Rick Kalowski
Starring: Alan Cassell, Nathaniel Davison, Rosalind Hammond, Kevin Harrington, Shaun Micallef
Links: The Honourable Wally Norman on the IMDb
Genre: Comedy
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2004 (nominee)

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Don't expect to laugh out loud" - a review by pearly

The Honourable Wally Norman is a feelgood comedy which relies on play on words for most of its humour. In the country town of Givens Head (play on words number one), Wally Norman (Kevin Harrington) lives with his family, and works in the meatworks, along with some 300 of the townspeople. A couple of nasty looking guys rock up to the local politician Ken Oats' (Shaun Micallef - play on words two) place in a car with the numberplate MYOFB (p.o.w. three). They offer Oats $3 million to allow them to shut the meatworks down, and lay everyone off without their entitlements.

Oats, being the nasty pastie that he is, agrees, on the condition that the word not get out before the upcoming election, which he doesn't want to lose.

Meanwhile, Willy Norman (Alan Cassell) is preparing, along with trusted staff member Myles Greenstreet (Nathaniel Davison - this character's name is used for numerous plays on words), to nominate himself for the election, but in a drunken haze, he mistypes the name on the application form, instead nominating Wally Norman (p.o.w. number ... I don't know ... 56?). Given that the name cannot be changed after the closing date, Greenstreet's only chance is to convince someone with the correct name, i.e. the Wally Norman we met at the start, to run against Ken Oats.

And there you have it. A nicely set-up story. The Honourable Wally Norman purports to be a comedy, and it definitely does aim for laughs, but there was nothing in this thing that made me laugh out loud. It wasn't particularly unfunny; I quite enjoyed the unravelling of the story, but it used the most predictable version of humour that you could find anywhere, repeating jokes and ideas that you've heard in a million different places. One of the running gags is that Wally cannot make speeches without fainting. Whilst this is supposed to be funny within itself (which it isn't), another layer is added when Willy suggests that Wally imagine his audience in their underwear to take his mind off his anxiousness. Heard it before, right? Well, you can probably guess that what happens next is that Wally mistakenly imagines himself in his underwear whilst making a speech. Hilarious?! I think not.

There are a fair number of big names in comedy present in this film. Harrington, while not really known for his comedy talents, is not particularly funny, but he does an okay job of endearing himself to me, the audience. He's since gone on to bigger and better things, i.e. a steady role on Neighbours. Micallef is about as funny as Australian comedians get, and he is probably the funniest thing about this film, but it's far from his best work; the extras on the DVD in which he talks nonsense are more funny than anything he says in the film. Rosalind Hammond has done plenty of time in comedy shows, and she plays Wally's wife well, with some great timing, but also without adding much laughter-wise. Greig Pickhaver (aka H.G. Nelson) is also in on the action, playing a more minor character, that of the Chairman of the party. Some people may find him funny, but to me, he's just shouting.

The Honourable Wally Norman is a bit of fun, which is probably what it's meant to be. Unfortunately, it's not quite a big enough bit.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 15 Sep 2004

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