Just when you thought Nick Giannopoulos and his brand of “look at me I’m Greek!” humour had disappeared forever, hurled into the waste bucket of popular culture like the last scraps from a Saturday night souvlaki run, back the once sort-of star comes to whack audiences with his patented wog shtick once again in this limp and laugh-less sequel to 2000’s surprise hit The Wog Boy.
Remember that TV show Unsolved Mysteries, where the host spoke gravely about bizarre and inexplicable encounters? If the program is ever resurrected The Wog Boy’s extraordinary run at the local box office deserves a two part special. How did the original movie woo the punters enough to collect more than 13 million big ones from Australian cinemas? Nobody can say. Given the movie’s financial success, however, it’s not difficult to grasp the logic behind making a sequel. Why it took them a full decade to get around to it is a harder question to answer.
What little story there is in The Wog Boy 2: The Kings of Mykonos kicks off when Steve (Giannopoulos) learns that a long lost uncle has died and left him a beach in Mykonos. Accompanied by his sleazy best bud Frank (Vince Colosimo) Steve flies over, meets his estranged family and experiences local culture and customs. This includes a sophisticated economic stimulus package called “Greekonomics,” which means giving your relatives freebies.
Penned by Giannopoulos and Chris Anastassiades, the screenplay presents a curious twist on fish out of water comedy. Steve is in Greece and he’s Greek, but he’s Greek Australian and that’s the difference, essentially meaning he integrates well with the locals but also says things like “cheers” and “mate.” Curiously, the dynamic of the original has shifted: it’s not about being a wog anymore but about being an Aussie.
The story is loosely placed in the context of Steve’s financial troubles associated with keeping his beach in Mykonos but it’s not about strategies for him to raise the money; the movie floats that idea but leaves it hanging limply in the background. The plot floats lazily about at its own leisure, flopping this way and that, and the last act drifts into storytelling no man’s land, resolutions lazily forged using random last minute revelations.
The comedy never finds its rhythm – not even close – and Giannopoulos’s idea of a belly-up is still a daggy dance scene in which bemused babes look on, agog, as he and his buddy “tear it up” with legs and arms akimbo. Embarrassing for all concerned (especially those who forked over cash to see it) most of the puns summon the proverbial tumbleweed through the cinema. Others escape with less condemnation, perhaps a gentle shake of the head or a polite snigger. Occasionally there are some amusing lines (“the wog chicks here are hot – I haven’t seen one bleached moustache,” says Vince Colosimo, who needs to pick up a pay cheque like everyone else so try not to hold it against him) but they are few and far between.
In fact, this laboured but strangely uneventful comedy barely plays like a comedy at all, unless the viewer subscribes to the theory that comedy is tragedy plus time and the amount of time in question is roughly 24 frames a second for 102 mind numbing minutes. The most amusing part of watching The Wog Boy 2 was observing audience members slowly file out of the cinema, obviously prepared to forget about Giannopoulos’s stupefied souvlaki shtick until the next unfortunate occasion it reappears on the menu.
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The Wog Boy 2: The Kings of Mykonos’s Australian theatrical release date: May 20, 2010.