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Angry Boys(TV) (2011)
Daniel and Nathan Sims, identical twins who live on a farm in Dunt, South Australia; Ruth Sims, aka Gran, a prison guard who works at a juvenile justice centre for boys; U.S. rapper S.mouse, who finds himself on house arrest after doing a poo on a police car; former world surfing champion Blake Oakfield, a surf gang leader who lost his balls in a shooting; and Jen Okazaki, domineering mother/manager of her skateboarding champion son.
For more about Angry Boys and the Angry Boys Blu-ray release, see the Angry Boys Blu-ray Review
Starring: Chris Lilley, Deborah Jones, Greg Fairall
» See full cast & crew
Angry Boys Blu-ray Review
A little Lilley goes a long way.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, December 25, 2012
Note: This review contains strong language.
Having only a fringe comprehension of actor/creator Chris Lilley and his fondness for the mockumentary genre (explored in "Summer Heights High" and "We Can Be Heroes"), I was surprised by much of his latest effort, "Angry Boys." Billed as a comedy, the series is actually anything but at times, refusing opportunities for humor to take the entire enterprise with the utmost seriousness, as though Lilley was aiming for respectability with his well-rehearsed sideshow act, trying to breathe life into caricatures that he barely has a handle on. While his improvisational breathlessness is something to behold, Lilley doesn't have much to say with "Angry Boys" outside of some mild satire directed at the fragility of emotionally stunted men. The rest is a blend of profanity, touches of blackface and yellowface, anti-gay slurs, urine and semen jokes, and wild tonal swings that render the show a real patience-tester at times, watching the star feel around in the dark for a narrative direction that he's never able to find.
Being his most ambitious effort to date, "Angry Boys" asks a lot of Lilley, who accepts most production credits, suggesting a singular creative drive to explore the world of immature males as they struggle against authority, manipulation, failure, and, worst of all, adulthood. Lilley portrays the six lead characters of the program, using make-up and accents to turn himself into twin teenagers, a grandmother, an entrepreneurial Japanese mother, an African-American rapper, and a dim-witted surf pro, displaying his gifts with performance and cultural insensitivity, with the entire show devoted to hurling sticks of dynamite at taboos. Built entirely out of vulgarity and improvisation, "Angry Boys" takes 12 episodes to explore the nature of the man-boy and their reluctance to face change and submission, while the world prepares to carry on without them. It's a potent subject matter, but Lilley doesn't have a clue how to balance the sweet and sour, often resorting to broad comedy and saccharine moments of melodrama to make his points, failing to juggle the intricate tonality of such a vision. Either "Angry Boys" is displaying crudeness to a depressing degree or it's shamelessly tugging on heartstrings, presenting Lilley as a filmmaker who clearly wants to develop his vision in different, more impactful directions, but can't walk without his comedic crutches. Certain characters grab attention, yet the series as a whole is too unfocused and ultimately rushed to sustain interest for six hours.
"Episode 1" (28:30, Airdate – 5/11/11)
We meet teenager Daniel Sims and his partially deaf identical brother Nathan (both played by Chris Lilley), who try to entertain themselves in rural Australia. Hoping to rebuild a sheep farm that was the dream of their late father, the boys instead pass the time with adolescent mischief, finding Daniel particularly disturbed by the household intrusion of his mother's boyfriend, Steve (Greg Fairall). The boys' grandmother is Ruth "Gran" Sims (Lilley), a prison officer at a juvenile justice center, who rules over the incarcerated kids with a tough-but-fair policy, acting as an enforcer and as a surrogate mother to young men in need.
"Episode 2" (28:28, Airdate – 5/18/11)
We meet S.mouse (Lilley), an American rap star who's built an empire on kiddie songs with a scatological streak. Faking a criminal background to secure street credibility, S.mouse faces genuine legal trouble when caught defecating on a police car in the video for his hit, "Poo on You." Forced to remain in his palatial family mansion, S.mouse's cushy house arrest is disrupted by his father (Richard Lawson, who gives the finest non-Lilley performance), who's ready to finally unleash some discipline on his spoiled brat of a son. Daniel is having a difficult time dealing with the family decision to place Nathan in a school for the deaf. And Gran looks to bond with a quiet new inmate who's been bullied after the reveal of his crime: masturbating dogs.
"Episode 3" (27:43, Airdate – 5/25/11)
We meet Blake Oakfield (Lilley), an ex-surfing champion who has lived a reckless life of gang participation (protecting his home beach from rivals) and bodily harm (his testicles have been shot off), currently living an aimless existence with his pregnant wife and young child. Hoping to celebrate Nathan's departure to deaf school, Daniel decides to throw a massive party, getting Gran to help invites celebrities to the ambitious shindig, including Blake and S.mouse. As for the dim-wit rapper, S.mouse decides to break his house arrest by releasing a video for his sexual ode to grandmothers, with the offensive YouTube upload effectively severing his record contract, leaving him with nothing.
"Episode 4" (27:23, Airdate – 6/1/11)
It seems Nathan's masturbation habits have become unbearable for Daniel, requiring a battle plan to combat near-hourly wank sessions from his brother. We meet Tim Okazaki (Jordan Dang), an American teen climbing the ranks of skateboarding royalty, managed by his Japanese mother, Jen (Lilley), who's forced her son to pretend he's gay to facilitate the building of a unique commercial brand. Of course, Tim isn't a homosexual, but that little detail doesn't stop Jen from creating merchandise and catchphrases to help sell her son to the world. And Blake breaks up his directionless day by gathering his Mucca Mad Boys gang to deal with a display of obscene graffiti, challenging rivals Fennel Hell Men to a street fight.
"Episode 5" (27:44, Airdate – 6/8/11)
Looking to revive his dwindling fame after being dropped by his label, S.mouse builds a recording studio in his parents' living room, working on songs about three-legged dogs, breast cancer, and his enormous testicles. Tim struggles with his heterosexual impulses while Jen watches with disgust, trying to keep her son on the gay path to maintain his image. She also shows concern for his weight, teaching him a "fart method" to help combat obesity. And Nathan unleashes a series of pranks on Daniel that require brotherly escalation, though timing the revenge while a family interested in sharing their experiences with a deaf son visits proves difficult.
"Episode 6" (27:47, Airdate – 6/15/11)
With his parents away on vacation, Daniel is made the man of the house, in charge of caring for the family. Instead of discipline, Daniel organizes a town party, raising hell while Nathan finds himself in a series of compromising positions with household items. Blake decides to take a proactive step in his employment future by creating a surf school for overweight kids, teaching the basics of ocean comfort and name calling to help combat their lack of confidence with girls and sports. And Gran is reminded of her place as a prison guard when she takes her care for silent inmate Talib (Jake Glass) too far, looking to pull back on her mothering instincts when she explodes on the boy for screwing up a cartoonish "scared straight" presentation.
"Episode 7" (27:30, Airdate – 6/22/11)
Desperate to retain his fan base, S.mouse tries to entertain an elementary school with his latest tunes, disturbing the kids with songs about pedophilia. Testing his fading star power, S.mouse takes his act to the mall to find his fans, directly violating his house arrest, with the cops replacing his GPS ankle bracelet with one that discharges an electric shock. Guilty of abusing the word "fag" with every breath he takes, Nathan is forced to spend time with a homosexual neighbor to help soften his worldview. It turns out the two have a lot in common, commencing a friendship that actually brightens the boy's angry demeanor. And Tim, showing signs of depression and exhaustion, is slowly peeled out of his skateboarding empire, with Jen taking over vocal duties on his cartoon program, frustrated with her boy's disinterest in marketing saturation.
"Episode 8" (28:17, Airdate – 6/29/11)
With the Fat Boy Surf School on hiatus, Blake returns his attention to parenting. Welcoming a recently paroled Mucca Mad Boy member back into his home, Blake shares his life and the story of his testicular loss with his old friend, who soon requests use of the surfer's car for reasons unclear. It's family day at the juvenile center, with Gran organizing murals and dance offerings meant to show off rehabilitation efforts to concerned parents. When Talib's mother doesn't show, Gran is forced to bond with the silent boy, revealing a secret about herself that few know. And Daniel, jealous of all the attention Nathan receives from girls, tries to woo a video store clerk with all the wrong moves, eventually reduced to impersonating his twin to attract female attention.
"Episode 9" (27:08, Airdate – 7/6/11)
On the day of his big cola commercial, Tim gets cold feet about his gay persona, storming off the set, incurring the wrath of Jen as she desperately tries to swat away the bad press swarming her son. As Nathan prepares to attend deaf school, Daniel cracks wise about his uniform, triggering his brother to run away from home. In the search to find Nathan, Daniel recalls just how much he loves his twin. And Blake, in trouble with the law after his Mucca Mad Boy brother kills a rival, finds life intolerable after his wife and children leave him. Depressed, the surfer searches for ways to reorganize his life, considering a testicle replacement surgery to make himself whole again.
"Episode 10" (28:03, Airdate - 7/13/11)
Gran is in serious trouble when she provides sheets to Talib and another boy in their isolation cells, resulting in a suicide attempt. Nathan and Daniel try to enjoy themselves and their mother's wedding, adding their own mischief to the special day. The boys also conjure a plan to trick S.mouse into attending Nathan's bon voyage party, hoping to lure the star in with a tragic tale involving the loss of an Aboriginal boy. And S.mouse is caught shirtless by the paparazzi, leading to accusations of weight gain, stripping the rapper of dignity and his girlfriend, relying on fan mail to help perk up his spirits.
"Episode 11" (27:44, Airdate – 7/20/11)
Gran is fired from her job at the prison due to mistakes in judgment, leaving the beloved guard a mess of emotions as she ends her career. S.mouse, sensing a higher calling with the Aboriginal story, turns to singing to express himself, planning to travel to Australia to perform the tune. And Tim is finally ready to take control of his skateboard empire, leaving Jen in a fit of rage as she's pushed out of her managerial position, forced to deal with all the unsold "Gay Style" merchandise.
"Episode 12" (28:13, Airdate – 7/27/11)
As party time approaches, Daniel takes Nathan around town to say goodbye to his favorite things, making a stop at the tree where their father was killed years ago. Tim relocates to California for a chance at a happier life, leaving Jen to rot in the suburbs. S.mouse is left wondering what happened to his life as he attempts yet another comeback. Blake elects to have testicle surgery, leaving him with renewed confidence. And Gran moves in with Daniel and Nathan's family, trying to readjust to life outside of juvenile center.
Angry Boys Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation doesn't provide much in the way of exquisite detail, with the series captured on commercial-grade HD cameras, lacking the sort of visual firepower higher quality shows enjoy. Perhaps this is Lilley's intent to provide realism and cover obvious make-up work required to transform him into women and an African-American rapper. Textures are satisfactory without looking crisp, with just a touch of softness restraining the image. Colors are realistic and balanced, bringing a welcome feel for beach life and blue ocean views, also pushing the green and brown hues of rural Australia. Skintones are human outside of intentional discolorations. Some noise is detected, along with mild banding. Shadow detail is adequate, with rich blacks, but rarely is depth of costuming and backgrounds challenged.
Angry Boys Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix really doesn't have the much to do besides support the various accents Lilley employs to bring his characters to life. Dialogue exchanges for this winded work are strongly defined and hearty, with room environments crisply arranged and executed. Bigness comes into play during the opening titles, which provide a pleasing rush of scoring, and with S.mouse's music, which hauls in a considerable low-end to shake the room as the bass is pumped up. It's primarily a front stage affair, with some distances and crowd environments seeping into the surrounds. Despite constant changes in setting and characters, volume riding is never required.
Angry Boys Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Angry Boys Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Most impressive here are the technical credits, which do an amazing job selling Lilley as twins and assorted characters, creating an editorial seamlessness that's often more interesting than the series itself. "Angry Boys" certainly means well and Lilley seems to have an idea of what themes the show should touch on, but the execution is a mess, leaving behind a pile of scenes in desperate need of organization and genuine comedic insight. "Angry Boys" hopes to be a gut-buster and a tear-jerker, only to remain in a frustrating void of inconsequence, populated with loquacious characters who would be more interesting if they actually stopped to consider what they were saying.
Angry Boys Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Angry Boys Blu-ray - September 6, 2012
HBO Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray Angry Boys, starring Chris Lilley, Deborah Jones, and Greg Fairall. The three-disc set will be available for purchase online and in stores across the nation on December 4th.
Angry Boys Blu-ray Screenshots
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