Strange Bedfellows (2004 film)

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Strange Bedfellows
Strange Bedfellows FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Dean Murphey
Produced by Thomas Augsberger
Written by Stewart Faichney
Dean Murphy
Starring Paul Hogan
Michael Caton
Cinematography Roger Lanser
Sean McClory
Edited by Peter Carrodus
Release date(s)
  • 22 April 2004 (2004-04-22)
Running time 100 minutes
Country Australia
Language English

Strange Bedfellows is a 2004 Australian film starring Paul Hogan and Michael Caton as heterosexual men who pass themselves off as a gay couple in order to get financial benefits from the government. A stage musical based on the film ran at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.

Plot[edit]

In the small Australian town of Yackandandah, Vince owns the local movie theatre and several other businesses, and is having trouble paying his taxes because his ex-wife got everything. The news of a new tax benefit for homosexual couples gives Vince an idea: he and best friend Ralph, a mechanic, can claim to be a couple and receive the benefits. Two complications develop: because of a careless mail delivery person, the postmaster sees their application for benefits and tells one person, and soon the whole town knows. Also, the national government is sending an investigator to make sure the men's relationship is legitimate.

Vince and Ralph take lessons in passing as gay from hairdresser Eric. They also visit Sydney and spend time at a gay club.

Russell, the investigator, shows up early, and so does Ralph's daughter Carla, who wants to introduce Peta, her girlfriend. It turns out that while Ralph is not gay, Carla is. Ralph and Vince redecorate Ralph's house and complete their interview, and they attend the local Fireman's Ball. Since Russell is there, Ralph and Vince have to continue their charade. Also, their friends from Sydney's gay club show up. Ralph makes a big speech about how his relationship with Vince is no one's business, and that their friends from out of town are normal people despite how they look. Carla is shocked by what her father has done, though Peta is pleased to learn about Ralph.

Russell tells the men he was not convinced in the interview, but he believes they are good people with a special relationship and should not be treated like criminals.

Alleged plagiarism[edit]

A very similar plot was later used in the American film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), generating controversy that Chuck and Larry may be a clone of Strange Bedfellows.[1][2][3] In November 2007 the producers of Strange Bedfellows initiated legal action against Universal Pictures for copyright violation.[4] The suit was withdrawn in April 2008 after the producers of Strange Bedfellows received an early draft of Chuck and Larry that predated their film, thus satisfying that they had not been plagiarised.[5]

Reception[edit]

The Sydney Morning Herald took a negative view of the film, concluding that "[Paul] Hogan's "ordinary bloke" humour was originally based on the fact that he once was one. He still plays the same character, but with less and less conviction."[6]

As of 23 May 2010, film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes indicated an overall tomatometer level of 80% positive reviews, with a 6.7/10 average rating.[7]

Cast[edit]

Box office[edit]

Strange Bedfellows grossed $4,816,495 at the box office in Australia, which represented over 40% of the entire box office for Australian films for 2004. The film was awarded the Film Finance Corporation Australia IF Award for Box Office Achievement.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, Tosia. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry". Retrieved 23 May 2010.  2/5 stars
  2. ^ Sampson, Mike (18 July 2007). "Chuck & Larry a ripoff?". JoBlo.com. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Retro Review: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry". Stale Popcorn. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Maddox, Garry (24 November 2007). "Filmmakers take on Hollywood over comedy 'copy'". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Strange fluke, not plagiarism - Film - Entertainment". Sydney Morning Herald. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Byrnes, Paul (22 April 2004). "Strange Bedfellows". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "Strange Bedfellows (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links[edit]