Les Patterson Saves the World (1987)

So we end our tour of Umbrella’s Ozploitation collections in a… well, slightly confused manner. Unlike pretty much all the other films we’ve been looking at (plus Razorback, of course, which I reviewed ages ago), I don’t recall this even getting a namecheck in Not Quite Hollywood, and to be honest I’m a bit surprised to find it on DVD at all, let alone part of this series. I was puzzled, too, as to why Humphries didn’t try making a Les Patterson film long before this; and finally I’m puzzled as to why this was the one he did eventually make. Sir Les gets appointed to an Arab state called Abu Niveah as punishment for offending that country’s leader by farting on and igniting him; he arrives amdist a military coup, headed by one Colonel Godowni who’s determined to hold the world to ransom with a fairly revolting bioweapon spread by contact with toilet seats. Yes, it’s toilet humour of a screamingly literal sort… Even Humphries admits in the interview on the DVD that it was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, and maybe it was in the early planning stages, but things seem to have deviated from those first ideas; and though he says the HELP plague wasn’t meant to be a metaphor for AIDS, he concedes it could’ve been read as such and that it probably doomed the film to the general condemnation it received. In fairness, Dame Edna does get some actually funny business (and teaming the two characters is one of the few really good ideas the film has), and it’s a remarkably good-looking production, don’t know what the budget was but it surely looks expensive… but god/dess, what material to waste such expense on for so little return; to be honest, there’s been a few titles in this series I likely would never have seen had Umbrella not collected them together, probably wouldn’t have missed them either, and this was one of those. Still, I didn’t expect much from it and I can’t say it didn’t deliver…

EDIT (18/10/15): Well, at least I wasn’t wrong about the film looking expensive; Luke Buckmaster just wrote about this for the Grauniad, and according to him this thing cost SEVEN POINT THREE MILLION DOLLARS. Which, adjusted for inflation, apparently works out around $24m in modern money. That’s… fucking ludicrous. I know that barely pays the wages of the lead actors in some Hollywood films, but this is a local product we’re taking about. Ludicrous.


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