FANGING FLICK

THE WOG BOY 2000

STORY SIMON MAJOR

> EVERY WOG HAS HIS DAY F OLLOWING the success of the TV sitcom Acropolis Now and stage shows Wog-ARama and Wogs Out Of Work, actor Nick Giannopoulos took his ‘wog’ franchise to the big screen with The Wog Boy, which he co-produced, co-wrote and starred in.

He plays Steve Karamitsis, a Greek migrant embracing his ethnic stereotype to the full. The hair, clothes and car are all part of his branding as he swans through his dole-funded life mixing a healthy dose of self-absorption with a heap of chick-winning schoolboy charm.

A carpark bingle involving his beloved Valiant hardtop places Steve heavily in the crosshairs of the Minister for Employment, the harpy-like Raelene Beagle-Thorpe (Turner). She sets out to brand Steve as the ultimate dole-bludger, looking to exploit his image via the media as a means to get the unemployed back into the workforce for less than the minimum wage.

In the meantime Steve has fallen hard for Beagle- Thorpe’s PA, Celia (Bell), and struggles hard to save his image and impress the girl of his dreams.

Steve’s cause is both helped and hampered by an array of supporting characters representing some very familiar stereotypes. There’s his pizza-twirling cousin and pants-man, Frank (Colosimo); the Vietnamese delivery boys Van and Tran (Huen and Le respectively), who aspire to be Frank-spec studs; and Dominic (Baressi), the gambling-addicted, speed lab-running pharmacist.

Then there are my two personal favourites: the welfarecheating Theo (Nikolakopoulos), and local thug Tony the Yugoslav (Kilias) who murders the English language as he pops out some awesome one-liners: “Listen, I’m half Serbian and half Croatian. When I wake up in the morning I want to kill myself.”

Sarcasm is a staple ingredient when it comes to Australian humour and The Wog Boy has it in spades, making it a funny and light-hearted take on multicultural life Down Under. I am sure some modern do-gooders will want to pull the ‘racist’ card on a film like this, but hey, it’s all a bit of fun. Taking the piss out of oneself is as Aussie as Vegemite, and Giannopolous and friends seem to revel in having a good-natured dig at their own cultural stereotypes.

VERDICT: 4/5

THE only prerequisite for enjoying a film like The Wog Boy is a grasp of the easy-going Aussie sense of humour. It’s a fun watch, suitable for most age groups and has more than enough laughs to gloss over the odd cringeworthy part. We’re all car people here, so you will have no problems relating to Steve’s love for his Valiant or his enthusiasm for sharing the build photos with anyone who’ll stand still long enough. s

BREAKDOWN

VEHICLES: 1969 VF Valiant hardtop, 1970 VG Valiant hardtop, 1976 Alfa Romeo, 1960 Fiat 600, 1996 Ford LTD limousine, 1985 Ford Fairlane STARS: Nick Giannopoulos, Lucy Bell, Vince Colosimo, Geraldine Turner, Trent Huen, Hung Le, John Barresi, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Costas Kilias, Derryn Hinch DIRECTOR: Aleksi Vellis ACTION: Street cruising mixed with a line-locking game of chicken is about the extent of it, but Steve’s Valiant hardtop nonetheless takes a leading role PLOT: Likeable ‘wog boy’ Steve Karamitsis has his comfortable, stereotypical Greek life thrown into turmoil after being labelled a dole-bludger on national TV

COOL FLICK FACT: The ‘WOGBOY’ VF Valiant hardtop still exists, and was recently for sale in WA.