Bogans eat stale pizza

The West Australian


Fat Pizza vs Housos

Paul Fenech, John Boxer, Maria Venuti, Andy McPhee



It's hard to believe that a decade and a half has elapsed since Paul Fenech first inflicted his audacious take on ethnic eccentricities upon Australian audiences in the form of the SBS TV show, Pizza.

Since then, he has milked the same vat of luckless welfare-and-drug-addicted dole bludgers, bogan behaviour, disrespect for authority and general tomfoolery, in the form of several sitcoms such as Swift and Shift Couriers, Bogan Hunters, and the most infamous, Housos, based on the appalling lifestyles of residents in the fictitious Housing Commission suburb of Sunnyvale.

With feature films already having been made on the characters of Pizza and Housos, it was inevitable that Fenech would raise the level of obnoxiousness even higher by merging the two settings into one in his latest theatrical offering, Fat Pizza vs Housos.

The premise is clever: pizza chef Bobo Gigliotti (John Boxer) is released from prison after being incarcerated for the past 15 years for assaulting a health inspector with a chainsaw.

Rents have risen in the time he was was in jail, so together with his supportive yet overbearing mother Mama (played by the delightful Maria Venuti), Bobo sets up a new pizza parlour in the only place he can afford, Sunnyvale, oblivious to its history of lawlessness and looting.

Bobo's former employee Pauly (played by Fenech) accidentally renews acquaintances with Bobo and reveals he had only recently escaped from being trapped in a dungeon by a mistress with an insatiable sex drive.

Predictably, Pauly gets confused with his lookalike cousin Franky, the chief protagonist and troublemaker of Sunnyvale, and mayhem and melees ensue as the hapless constabulary, ethnic gangs, associates and sundry hooligans and hoons mistake them for each other.

Long-suffering, avuncular Centrelink employee Renzo (Renzo Bellato), a staple of all the Fenech TV shows, gets a bigger role to play in this movie, as he is persuaded by the conniving Mama to help set up dole schemes to benefit Bobo's pizza store.

Indeed, many of the Fenech stable of regulars return, including the scheming Habib (Tahir Bilgic), the bikies led by Angry (Angry Anderson) and dwarf-sized brother Johnno, Franky's mates Kev, Shazza and Dazza, and even the Ronald McDonald clowns from the Pizza TV series.

The most notable cameo is of would-be rapper Sleek the Elite (Paul Nakad), back after being mistaken for a terrorist after 9/11 and punished at Guantanemo Bay by being forced to listen to country music every day. In real life, it marks a return to the series for Nakad after a reported falling out between him and Fenech during the shooting of a Pizzas TV episode.

Fenech's parodies of minorities and loutish behaviour was refreshing the first time round, mildly funny in their second phase (Fenech won a host of Logies), but run the risk of being tiring with each re-telling of the same basic story.

Nevertheless, it seems they will continue to be favoured by the very section of the community they lampoon, who can relate to many of the problems that are exaggerated in the storylines. Fenech has already promised that the next instalment will be called Fat Pizza and Housos vs Authority.

Can Housos vs Fat Pizza vs Swift and Shift Couriers vs Bogans vs Authority be far away?

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