Boytown

Part 2 of Australia Week!

We’re Boytown: population five/ At the end of each show, we go home to our wives

In September, I said that Boytown looked like a funny film that would be a success. In contrast to Kenny‘s $500,000 budget, Boytown boasted $5,000,000 in funding.

Kenny, having made $6,000,000 is, budgetwise, a huge success. The Australian mark of a smash (international) movie is $10,000,000. Yet, given that it is not a very likely sale to foreign markets, Boytown has to be loved all across Australia to achieve even vague success.
Boytown is not smash material. It’s funny and it’s sweet, but it hasn’t received good reviews. That can be attributed to its most sour ending that, while funny, left me feeling cheated.

Benny G (Glenn Robbins) used to be in the “first” boy band, Boytown. When he hears a cover of one of their songs, he decides to reunite the band and storm the world. After two humiliating attempts to reclaim past glory, Benny G realises that they need to adjust their demographic to the people who used to listen to them. Cue fantasy songs for middle aged women: “Picking the Kids Up From School”, “Parent Teacher Night”, “Special Time (of the Month)” and, of course, “Pussywhipped”.

It took me a while to get the hang of the fact that the songs were about things that women (stereotypically) want men to do and to be. After that, they were hilarious. How could one not love a song with the lyrics “I know how to behave/ when you’re riding the crimson wave”?
The songs are shamelessly manipulative of their audiences’ emotions, but this is truly the heart and soul of boybands: lying to girls and women to give them hope.

Sadly, the film cannot sustain itself on funny songs alone. Most of the situations the band members find themselves in are sufficiently funny, but every time drama is broached, the tension collapses in on itself. Detached conversations with people referring to themselves as fictional entities become a strange standard that contrives to tear the band apart so that it can come together again for the inevitable triumphant finale.

There is a triumphant finale, and it occurs at the ARIAs. It is a moment of elation, but the movie does not end there. It goes on to an excruciating conclusion that defeats the purpose of everything that you go to a movie about a boyband to see. It’s a huge slap to the face and it left me incredulous.

Boyband is the marketable line in Australian cinema. It throws itself away for the sake of a joke, and that renders it a film undeserving of an audience’s respect. Mick Molloy needs to try harder next time to not break the hearts of his fans.

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