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STUDIO: HBO Studios
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 360 minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Videos
Critically-acclaimed Australian comedian Chris Lilley returns with another brilliant mockumentary series that will offend virtually everyone!
Created and written by Chris Lilley, starring Chris Lilley, Jordan Dang, Chris Lilley, Richard Lawson, Chris Lilley, Paul Rearson, and Chris Lilley.
Teenage identical twins (one deaf) try to express their love for each other without looking like dickheads. An aging guard at a juvenile detention center struggles to hide the onset of Alzheimer’s. A washed-up rapper begins the rocky road to redemption. An overbearing mother humiliates her skateboarding-superstar son with the best intentions. A former-champion surfer dedicated to his gang confronts fatherhood. And they’re all played by the same actor: Australian comedian/genius Chris Lilley. Angry Boys is a gleefully offensive and hysterical series that might just have you in tears by the end. Laugh uncomfortably at the black-face, cheer for the heartfelt triumphs.
Whether you’ll like Angry Boys or not will probably depend on how many middle fingers, “faggots,” golden showers, and “niggas” you can take. The primary characters, all played by Chris Lilley, let the obscenities and urine fly through 12 episodes of faux verite gold. Lilley already had two critically acclaimed series under his belt when HBO came calling to produce his third. A lot of critics remarked that the inflated budget also increased the amount of vulgarity, but those snobs can take a hike. The show is certainly flooded with obscenities, but Angry Boys made me laugh harder than I have in a long time and also made me well up with honest-to-goodness sadness and joy. What more could you ask for in a show?
The show presents five story lines that all connect in the end in one truly glorious moment. The main artery concerns Nathan and Daniel Sims, 17-year-old identical twin brothers that were introduced on Lilley’s previous show, We Can Be Heroes. Nathan has gone completely deaf and his parents believe it’s in his best interests to attend a deaf-only boarding school. Daniel tasks himself with throwing a farewell party for Nathan and tries to assemble the three “legends” his brother looks up to: rapper S.Mouse, surfer Blake Oakfield, and Japanese skateboarder Tim Okazaki.
Nathan communicates mainly in middle fingers and “pussy fingers,” with most of these gestures aimed at Daniel. The two have a typical love-hate sibling relationship – routine torments included. They play pranks on one another (“Piss Funny” is a disgusting classic), wank off a lot, and do “mainies,” which consist of either driving, biking, or walking slowly down main street with an air of importance. These humdrum activities like “mainies” and doing donuts are glorified by Daniel, who sees himself as a local bad boy and role model. He’s sort of like a young, Australian version of David Brent.
The boys’ grandmother, Gran, is the hopelessly optimistic head security guard at an all-boys juvenile detention center. If you don’t like this character then you have no soul. She’s gained the admiration and respect of the young inmates there by treating them like the kids they are, not as lost causes. She let’s them have KFC if they behave, comforts them when their folks don’t show up on parents’ day, and allows them to choreograph their own dance to the ring-tone rap song “Slap My Elbow,” by S.Mouse (pronounced: “smouse”).
After the success of that one song, S.Mouse’s career went down the toilet. His thug persona was shattered when his father revealed that he went to a predominantly white private school and was a huge fan of the musical Wicked. He tries to get his edge back by shitting on a cop car, but instead of gaining a hard rep, he’s placed on house arrest. Confined to his father’s LA mansion, he struggles to record his comeback song and makeover his tarnished image.
Lilley plays S.Mouse in full-body blackface (like Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder). It looks equal parts real and discturbing. I guess people were pissed because as S.Mouse, Lilley says “nigga” a lot. I don’t wanna get into the whole debate about who’s allowed to say it on film or not, but I will say that Lilley’s delivery of the word sounds organic for the character. He uses it almost like an interjection between thoughts – anyone who’s listened to a skit on a Wu-Tang album knows what I mean. Most importantly, the word is never used as a punchline, y’know? We’re never meant to laugh just because Lilley says the word, which I think is the big difference between offensive and just playing a character.
The other two characters played by Lilley are Jen Okazaki and Blake Oakfield. Jen is the mother of skateboard sensation Tim Okazaki, who she’s modeled into the perfect pint-sized marketable athlete. She makes him come out of the closet, even though he’s not gay, so she can sell her line of “Gay Style” skate merchandise, which includes penis throw pillows and pink helmets. This was the one character I wasn’t into. She was simply too predictable to be funny. Blake, on the other hand, is a terrific creation. He’s a typical laid-back surfer archetype, but without balls. They were shot off years ago during a tiff with a rival surf gang. The loss of his balls also marked the loss of Blake’s inspiration to surf, so he spends his days patrolling his turf with the rest of his gang, the Mucca Mad Boys.
The hook to all of these stories is, of course, that Lilley is playing all of the main characters. Even from the first episode, it’s easy to accept Lilley in all of the roles – the man is a genius at comedic mimicry. I talked a lot about how the show is offensive on pretty much every level, but it’s also very poignant and positive. Whether it’s conveying tender moments like when Gran treats the boys in juvie better than their parents probably do or when S.Mouse’s dad finally recognizes his son’s talent, or moments of adorable naivete like when Daniel and friends put on a “stunt show” for his parent’s wedding, Angry Boys effectively tugs on the heartstrings and closes on a moment of pure joy.
Call me a softie, but if you can look past the infectious toilet humor, you’ll see a show that’s addressing pain, love, and family on a very meaningful and comedic level. And I’m telling ya, the final scene put a smile on my face so big my jaw was hurtin’ for the rest of the day. Lilley and HBO currently have a show in the works for later in 2013 and I personally can’t wait. Chewers, do yourself a favor and check this show out.
Unfortunately, HBO put together a pretty weak package for the DVD release. There are some deleted scenes, S.Mouse music videos, and bloopers, but nothing that provides actual insight into the show. Even just a brief interview Lilley would’ve been great.
The blooper reel does have some nice footage of him acting as Nathan and Daniel, addressing the other twin off-screen that has yet to be filmed. That aspect looks tricky, but it’s edited together seamlessly.
So despite a lack of bonus content, the DVD set of Angry Boys is definitely worth buying for the show alone.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars