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Take Away

Despite the sterling efforts of amiable lead actors Vince Colosimo and Stephen Curry, who play the owners of rival fast-food establishments, "Take Away" is a sadly undernourished comedy. This Melbourne-produced effort is as stale as yesterday's hamburgers. There may be some takers in ancillary.

Despite the sterling efforts of amiable lead actors Vince Colosimo and Stephen Curry, who play the owners of rival fast-food establishments, “Take Away” is a sadly undernourished comedy. The second Aussie laffer this year to center on the fast-food industry — after the more successful “Fat Pizza,” released in March — this Melbourne-produced effort is as stale as yesterday’s hamburgers. There may be some takers in ancillary.

A curious prologue purports to show the origins of the take-out food business in the early 19th century: A Squire (Nicholas Bell) arrives at a roadside inn and is told by the innkeeper (Francis Greenslade) there are no tables available; he takes his fish and chips away wrapped in newspaper, and a new way of consuming food is born.

This nugget out of the way, the story begins. Tony (Colosimo) and Trevor (Curry) are friendly rivals whose fathers were partners in a restaurant before they quarreled. Now, Tony and Trevor operate fast food establishments almost next door to one another in, presumably, a suburb (any sense of place is wholly absent).

Tony is the fastidious owner of a fish and chip shop, while the less organized Trevor offers such delights as hamburgers, calamari burgers and dim sim (an Oz variant of the savory Chinese pastries). But their rivalry is put on hold when both are threatened by the arrival of Burgies, a McDonald’s like chain.

Screenplay, by Mark O’Toole and Dave O’Neil, is decidedly undercooked. Laughs are few and far between, and the plotting is strictly functional. The anti-McDonald’s gibes are predictable, and the usually excellent John Howard is encouraged to overplay the role of the odious CEO of the Australian branch of the multi-national burger chain.

Film has a pinched look, and even a big set piece, like the climax in which the Burgie store is uprooted from its foundations and towed away, is undermined by the pic’s pervasive unbelievability.

Take Away

Australia

  • Production: A Roadshow Film Distributors release (in Australia) of an Australian Film Finance Corp. presentation in association with Macquarie Film Corp., The Movie Network and Film Victoria, of a Mondayitis Prods. production, with assistance from the Australian Film Commission. (International sales: Beyond Films, Sydney.) Produced by Marc Gracie, David Redman. Executive producer, Bryce Menzies. Co-executive producer, John Tatoulis. Directed by Marc Gracie. Screenplay, Dave O'Neil, Mark O'Toole.
  • Crew: Camera (Cinevex color), Peter Zakharov; editor, Michael Collins; music, Yuri Worontschak; production designer, Penny Southgate; costume designer, Monica O'Brian; sound, Michael Slater, Scott Finlay; line producer, Jodie Crawford-Fish; associate producers, O'Neil, O'Toole; assistant director, Rachel Evans Artis; casting, Cameron Harris. Reviewed at Hoyts-Village-Greater Union multiplex, Sydney, Aug. 13, 2003. Running time: 88 MIN.
  • With: Tony Stilano - Vince Colosimo Trevor Spackney - Stephen Curry Sonja Stilano - Rose Byrne Dave - Nathan Phillips Ken - Brett Swain Mr. Burgie - John Howard The Manager - Matt Dyktynski Tarquin - Tom Budge Squire - Nicholas Bell Innkeeper - Francis Greenslade