Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Take Away is not silly enough to be wacky, not funny enough to be a full-length feature film and probably not strong enough (as it stands) even to be a 30 minute sitcom. More script development might have built on the basic premise, which is a workable David & Goliath story in the sort of Australianisation that The Castle effected to great commercial advantage.
It may seem odd to say it, but the film doesnít come with or from any real pain, just the standard multinational burger bashing position. The odiousness of the new burger chain is so ramshackle and pathetic that it canít be taken seriously as a threat. Whereas The Bank harnessed the same sort of anger in a solid story with strong characters to bash the banks, Take Away doesnít bash big burger business with the same hammer.
Lacking the depth of characterisations and storytelling, the film relies on the many clever lines of dialogue and comedy business that the cast conjure into something vaguely amusing, some of the time. Individual elements are clearly clever and the comedic style is often nicely underplayed; but not in the big scenes and not as a rule. Nor does it have the saving grace of pace. Had this been first written as a drama, then carefully sculpted into comedy by character and situation, it may have worked as a feature film.
Review by Louise Keller:
Itís so hard to make a good comedy, and although the premise offers oodles of potential, this good-hearted David and Goliath comedy about food and mateship never quite succeeds, despite the obvious energy and spirit involved. First things first: the script. It may have looked fun on paper, but we never really connect with the characters. Sure we smile inwardly at the external differences between Tony and Trevor, but we need to love them.
Both Vince Colosimo and Stephen Curry are convincing in the two leading roles, but the script never leads us below the surface so we can actually empathise with them and desperately want them to succeed from the very beginning.
Yes, everything has to be just so at Tonyís Fish and Chippery, where motivation books and his fastidiousness keep him company. Of course itís quite the contrary two doors down at Trevís Fish Ďn Chips Shop, where a slap-happy approach is the order of the day. That daily encounter when they meet outside their shops and express surprise that they are still in business is nicely done and Rose Byrneís decorative Sonja and Aussie Rulesí Nathan Phillips add a fresh dimension to the mix.
Directing comedy is all about pace and timing, and director Marc Gracie has opted to direct the Burgies Food Chain staff (and in particular Matt Dyktynskiís Manager) to ham it up. So the humour is overplayed, whereas I would have preferred all the performances to have been kept as straight as an arrow, so the humour of the situation could evolve naturally. The slapstick humour never works for me Ė the scene when Dave is sitting with a paper bag over his head (in a bid to be anonymous) ends up just plain silly, as does the scene when Tony and Trev dress up as the Burgie clowns (as a hamburger and chips), which fizzles. The ideas and the cast are the filmís greatest strengths Ė what a doggone shame that we donít end up with a sizzling take away.