Housewife, TAFE fanatic and world-class speed reader, Kath Day-Knight (Jane Turner) is struggling to find her place in the world. Her leech of a daughter, Kim Craig (Gina Riley), has split up with her husband for the nth time and moved back in expecting to be waited on hand and foot. Meanwhile, Kath’s own husband, Kel Knight (Glenn Robbins), seems to have lost his lust for life and developed a strong addiction to Masterchef. After winning a competition at her local chemist, Kath jets off to Italy with daughter in tow in the hopes of bringing some pizazz back into her life.
Despite all the marketing, this isn’t really the first time Fountain Lakes’s most famous residents have made it to feature-length. 2005 saw them star in the tele-movie, Da Kath and Kim Code, which, strangely, is longer than this second effort. The only real difference being a slightly larger budget.
And we do mean slightly.
Kath and Kimderella looks every second of the two weeks it took to film. To be fair though, director Ted Emery uses this to his advantage with some scenes maintaining a deliberate cheapness. For example, a high-speed chase scene includes some shoddy rear projection to humourous effect.
However, Kath and Kimderella was never going to be about the special effects. Like the TV show, it’s always been about Riley and Turner’s wordplay. The mundane conversations and mispronunciations made inbetween Marlboro Lights and avocado dip are what really shine bright. When the film gets it right, it gets it right – we’d be lying if we said we haven’t tried to use vajazzle as an emotive since viewing the film – which is why it’s a shame that this doesn’t happen enough. There are one too many montages where nothing is happening and a song and dance number reminds us of Armando Iannucci’s criticism that, including a song in a comedy show, means you lose three minutes that could have been easily filled with jokes.
Other signs of resting on laurels come in the rotund form of Kath’s ‘second best friend’, Sharon (Magda Szubanski). A number of jokes involving Sharon seem to revolve solely around Szubanski’s recent coming out in the press. Whilst one or two jokes are fine – her love of biographies by the likes of Penny Wong and Rosie O’Donnell for example – it begins to grate when it becomes the punchline to EVERY joke about Sharon. We couldn’t decide if this was a satirical dig at those people demanding that Sharon be a lesbian, or whether they just had a pile of Christmas cracker jokes about homosexuality they wanted to use up.
Kath and Kimderella is by no means a terrible film and certainly doesn’t deserve the critical crucifixion it has been getting in the press of late; we certainly laughed a number of times. We just wanted that little extra something that makes the trip to the cinema worth it, and a cameo by Dame Edna Everage just isn’t it. All in all, it left us a little vajazzled.