Sunday, 28 May 2017

Short Poppies (2014)

“Smashing NZ Comedy”

         Rhys Darby’s eight part comedy series comes to UK DVD courtesy of Kaleidoscope.

         David Farrier (playing himself, apparently) is a TV journalist making a documentary series about ‘Short Poppies’ - the everyday real people whom he believes New Zealand to be ‘really all about’. However, he ends up picking as his subjects seven of the most incompetent, deranged and unpleasant characters small town life has to offer. With each episode we meet a new one, while also learning a bit more about some of the people who live in the same town, and have to put up with, the documentary subjects.

         Very much in the style of Rob Brydon and Julia Davis’ superb HUMAN REMAINS, Steve Coogan’s COOGAN’S RUN or the Richard Ayoade / Matthew Holness show MAN TO MAN WITH DEAN LEARNER, SHORT POPPIES is a showcase for the comedy talents of Rhys Darby, who gets to play a different lunatic character every week. These include a useless whale watching tour guide, a crap ufologist, a lifeguard obsessed with his own legs, an elderly lady who lives to criticise and a car parking attendant who is a terrible artist in her spare time.

         Darby is probably most widely known for his appearances as Murray in FLIGHT OF THE CONCORDS (2007-2009) and one of the ‘Not Swearwolves” in WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014). One of his collaborators on those projects, Jemaine Clement, is on hand to direct a couple of episodes here. We also get guest turns from Stephen Merchant as an insurance agent, Karl Urban as a hairdresser,  Sam Neill as a crazy schoolmaster, and Bear Grylls as himself.

         Kaleidoscope’s DVD comes with all eight episodes, commentary tracks and a trailer. It’s all remarkably good fun and a worthwhile addition to the ‘docucomedy’ subgenre pioneered by shows like THE OFFICE and movies like THIS IS SPINAL TAP.

SHORT POPPIES is out from Kaleidoscope on Monday 29th May 2017

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