Directed by: Tony Martin
Written by:Tony Martin
Starring: Mick Molloy, Bob Franklin, Judith Lucy, Alan Brough, Bill Hunter, Shaun Micallef
Released: July 24, 2003
Grade: A-

Having seen Mick Molloy’s sly wit on display in Crackerjack, one of last year’s best comedies, I knew I’d be in for a treat with Bad Eggs.  Molloy has bulked up for his role as Ben Kinnear, a high-ranking detective in Melbourne’s new special police force known as the Zero Tolerance Unit (ZTU).  The ZTU was established nine years ago as an initiative of the Victorian premier, Lionel Cray (Micallef).

Beginning his career as a background extra on Australia’s Most Wanted is Ben’s partner, Bob Franklin (Paddock).  They’ve been trying to solve a high-profile case for almost a year but their  reputations are ruined in three hilariously coincidental incidents.  After innocently pumping 12 bullets through an already dead magistrate in a crowded shopping centre, accidentally setting fire to the house of his widow, and inadvertently dropping his casket down a flight of stairs at the funeral, they’re relegated to “night desk” duty.

Not helping them is media journalist Julie Bale (Lucy) who is splashing the woeful tales of Ben and Mike all over the front page of the leading newspaper.  Julie has a vendetta against Ben – for years they worked together at the ZTU but Ben left Julie out to dry after a blunder and she was booted off the force.  Her media blitz of Ben’s own follies is giving her the satisfaction of revenge.

When their boss is shot dead in his ZTU office, Ben and Mike suspect that corruption is rife within the force.  Finding an unlikely ally in Julie, the three begin a private investigation to expose those responsible but it soon appears that everyone is involved and no one can be trusted.  Thus begins an elaborate plan to clear their own names and discredit those that deserve it.

This story isn’t meant to be serious.  It’s a crafty tale filled with many subtle one-liners.  If you’re familiar with Molloy’s brand of humour, you’ll know what to expect.  The director and writer of the film is Molloy’s long time friend and workmate Tony Martin (who makes an uproarious cameo as an Eddie McGuire-like character).  As a team, they’ve produced a film which spoofs traditional crime thrillers without become overly silly.  It is a unique style of comedy.

Judith Lucy uttered an all-time classic line in Crackerjack when she said to John Clarke, with gleaming contempt, “your fucked”.  Her background in comedy has her ideally suited to these roles and she once again gave me the biggest laugh in Bad Eggs with a sarcastic wave in one of the final scenes.  Other cast members you’ll enjoy are Bill Hunter (in his 100th Australian film in the last two years) and Shaun Micallef, who sets the platform for some great Victorian political jokes.

Crackerjack was the highest grossing Australian film in 2002 and I’m tipping Bad Eggs to receive that same honour in 2003.  Molloy’s movies are creative and it’s a quality that Australian audiences are evidently searching for.