Saturday, October 13, 2007

THE DEVIL DARED ME TO: a New Zealand stuntman Cinderella story

site | trailer | BFFF 2007

Caught THE DEVIL DARED ME TO, a stuntman fable concocted by New Zealand's apparent sketch comedy answer to JACKASS, at day two of the Boston Fantastic Film Festival at the Brattle last night.

Young kiwi south islander Randy Cambell has got "stunts in his bloody blood!" Under the mentorship of egomaniacal and nerve-rattled daredevil king Dick Johansonson, he'll never get the chance to show it. However, when the well-mannered Cambell finally seizes an opportunity to take his stuntman fate into his own hands—dousing a car in petrol, jumping in the driver's seat, lighting up a cig, and flooring the gas pedal—he succeeds in saving careers of Johansonson and his team, as well as setting himself up as Dick's rival. In the years that follow, Randi does everything he can to live up to the ambitious but not-so-death-defying legacy of his dead stunt legend father, and Dick does everything he can to upstage and foil him. Wacky kiwi-accented zaniness ensues. Also, burning—literally—daredevil romance! =)

A New Zealand stuntman fairy tale, it sets up the world of daredeviltry as the southern hemisphere's equivalent of America's NASCAR. The flick is a bit light on plot, but strong on dumb, spectacular, crazy fun, and populated with some lovable and dastardly (it's so easy, but to my 11pm friday night brain, seeing "DICK" printed across the chest of the jumpsuit, t-shirt, and baseball cap of the villain, repeatedly sent me down the road to giggles) characters, or caricatures, who endure some terrible tragedies and achieve outrageous death-defying triumphs (as well as a few bloody, bone-crunching, balls-crushing, steel- and glass-punctured near-misses).

It seems that a decent chunk of the film's humor counts on the audience having some native New Zealander context, but between the melodrama, scheming, stuntman/stuntwoman-in-love montage, and other bits of universally appealing dialogue, a la "they've got sophistication dripping out of their arseholes" this stunt action comedy's got more than enough material for inspiring gasps, groans, and laughs in kiwi-clueless viewers.

EAT PIES. DRINK BEER. SMOKE CIGS. It plays again Monday night at 5.30pm. If you're rollin thru Harvard Square round then, lookin for a zany big screen spectacle with a powerful accent, do check it out! =)

Keep on keepin on~

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