“Bad Eggs” is a crime-comedy with more crime than comedy. At its best, it’s pretty funny, and that should ensure a reasonable opening Down Under in a market which has proved fairly open to local laffers recently. Top-liner Mick Molloy’s fans helped make last year’s “Crackerjack” a modest success and this new effort may find itself in the same ballpark.
However, there’s no escaping the fact that the plot — in which a couple of honest cops stumble on police and political corruption on a grand scale — isn’t exactly original, and the inclusion of scenes familiar from other movies (such as the method the good guys use to break into the computer system of Victoria’s police force) only adds to a feeling of deja vu.
In pic’s great curtain raiser, a respected magistrate apparently commits suicide in his car via a tube connected to the exhaust pipe. As the victim keels over, his body releases the handbrake, causing the car to roll down the driveway into the street and downhill into a crowded shopping mall, where it collides with a brand new show car.
Enter cops Ben Kinnear (Molloy) and Mike Paddock (Bob Franklin) who impulsively empty their guns into the already quite dead court official.
The cops are demoted by their immediate boss, Doug Gillespie (Marshall Napier), but they quickly smell a rat when they discover that the dead man’s computer files have been erased. Despite orders to drop the case, Ben and Mike continue to investigate. They report their suspicions to Gillespie, who is promptly murdered by rogue cop Wicks (Nicholas Bell). The lads are forced to go undercover and reluctantly seek help from Julie Bale (Judith Lucy), an ex-cop (and Ben’s former lover) turned crusading journalist.
First-time director Tony Martin has fashioned a screenplay with a fairly strong narrative and a fair amount of suspense, as the corruption trail leads to the highest levels of state politics. But he relies too heavily on the (considerable) comic prowess of Molloy and Franklin to inject laughs. Actual jokes and funny business are pretty thin.
The supporting cast plays it straight while Molloy and Franklin milk what humor there is out of the material. Particularly good are Napier as the murdered police officer, Robyn Nevin as the magistrate’s resourceful widow, and Alan Brough, as a nervous computer operator. Bill Hunter has played the role of the blustering senior cop rather too many times, and Lucy, an accomplished TV comedienne proves again, as she did in “Crackerjack”, that her brand of deadpan humor doesn’t translate so well to the bigscreen.
Production values are sleek, with the resourceful camerawork by Graeme Wood and the snappy music score by David Graney and Clare Moore ensuring that the packaging is top drawer.