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Foreign Comedy - New Zealand - Kombi Nation

New Zealand - Kombi Nation

Loren Horsley, Gentiane Lupi, Genevieve McClean
Directed by Grant Lahood
Life Size Entertainment 2006
83 minutes plus extra
Distributed in Canada by Paradox Entertainment Group

Kombi Nation is a weird little comedy DVD that mixes the mocumentary, the road movie, the summer vacation or spring break flick (without the nudity), some improv, and reality video into a funny and fun if sometimes hard to follow story with some sometimes hard to understand dialogue You might be tempted to think that such a hodge-podge of styles would make for a messy movie but director Grant Lahood manages to keep his very talented actors and most of the story on track to a pretty decent soundtrack.

Sal, played by Gentiane Lupi, leaves her native New Zealand to go to London where she catches up with Maggie, her sister (played by Genevieve McClean) and a friend of hers (the lovely Loren Horsley). She has convinced her friends to spend the summer touring Europe in a VW bus but surprises them when she shows up with a New Zealand TV documentary film crew in tow. Before leaving on their trip, the girls meet Scott, played by Jason White, a gregarious young man who tells very tall tales and manages to attach himself to this group.

The extra feature on this comedy DVD, a making of behind the scenes kind of thing, reveals that Kombi Nation was first improvised by the actors during a three month rehearsal period to achieve a final script that was the basis of the movie. The filmmakers were surprised to find that there were many bus caravans of Australians, Kiwis, South Africans that travel Europe together and they often encountered these groups when they stopped to shoot here and there. This gave the mocumentary Kombi Nation a bit of a real documentary feel.

Kombi Nation follows the three girls and their tag along male as they go through France, Spain Italy, and the Greek Isles. Of course, most of their time is not spent sightseeing but drinking, partying, and fighting with each other. Scott, who likes to spread his seed and the seed of discord, is often the source of the tension between the girls but jealousy, Sal’s bossy nature, and each girl’s character also causes some problems. Add to this some hidden drugs, a camera hidden in the van without their knowledge, and you have all the ingredients for a meltdown.

This is a fun little movie for a while. It does lose its charm when the Scott and Meggie story drags on.. Fortunately, this weird comedy of sorts then gets darker. Kombi Nation also loses the synchronicity between picture and sound (so you get the dubbed Japanese monster movie effect) starting with scene thirteen after Meggie realizes what a shit Scott really is.

Kombi Nation is a decent little comedy.

Richard Lanoie

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