Going into a movie called Two Little Boys, starring comedian Hamish Blake and one half of Flight of the Concord’s Brett McKenzie as two best friends getting into trouble, you’d expect a crude humoured, silly buddy buddy comedy right? You’d be wrong. You’d be completely, confusingly, disarmingly and twistedly wrong. Two Little Boys emerges as one of the oddest and unique films you’d be likely to see this year, which is where if finds is success and its downfall. With what often feels like a drama performed as a comedy, audiences might struggle to know what to make of it.
Nige, played by Bret McKenzie is doing laps of a main strip of road in the middle of the night to get some thinking done when, through a series of unfortunate events, he runs over a backpacker and kills him. Not knowing what to do, he goes to his best friend Deano (Hamish Blake) who is currently feuding with. Hilarious already right? The scenario is ripe for dark comedy, but whilst the content is certainly dark, the comedy isn’t. Homicide and toilet jokes might seem like an incompatible combination… and that’s because they are. This is misjudged dark comedy.
McKenzie is clearly the actor of the two, giving a surprisingly impressive performance. Blake on the other hand is unable to shake his comedian demeanour, delivering every line with sarcasm and an inauthentic presence. Their casting is an interesting one considering the characters relationship and the fact that both these actors are from male duos synonymous with each other.
There is something engaging in how sinister the friendship becomes between Nige and Deano, as Deano sees an unbreakable bond between the two of them that he will protect by any means necessary, but this dynamic is an unusual fit for these two actors. The breath of fresh air antidote to the two of them is Gav, played wonderfully by Maaka Pohatu, who is Nige’s new friend and source of much of the friction. The three of them travel to the south of New Zealand to escape the heat that will erupt surrounding the now “missing” back packer, and reveals where the film got much of its funding from: New Zealand tourism. The south of New Zealand is lovingly and beautifully shot, with the natural landscape genuinely dazzling whilst characters expositionally explain how wonderful it is as a place to visit. There’s even a quick plug for the Gold Coast thrown in for a few extra bucks.
Altogether, it’s possibly the first slacker comedy/ pyscho obsessive drama/ travel film ever made. So for that alone, maybe it’s worth seeing. But the combination is a little like mixing chocolate, beetroot and anchovies. Maybe they’re not meant to be put together. Despite all this, the film works…. Almost.