This is the rare merciful Australian comedy that doesn't star Paul Hogan or Yahoo Serious. Instead, it stars Barry Humphries, who was wonderful as Bert the game show host in the overlooked classic "Shock Treatment". This movie, however, is not a classic. As Australian comedies go, it's pretty embarrassing, and that's saying a lot (as anyone who's seen "Young Einstein" can attest).
Humphries plays the titular character, a repugnant, leathery, big toothed, eternally horny drunkard who starts off the movie by farting, which causes a man standing behind him to burst into flames. Usually I'm a big fan of flaming flatulence humor, like The Eternal Flame character in "Freaked", but here it left me cold. Don't get me wrong, the director was obviously passionate about the material, but here it falls flat.
Anyhoo, Patterson gets wrapped up in some obscure Middle Eastern plot to spread a virus by planting it on poisoned toilet seats. The virus causes it's victims to mutate into horrible, lumpy-faced monstrosities oozing puss.
Speaking of which, it should be noted that Joan Rivers is in this movie. She is one of the most horrifying actresses in show business. From her pointy voice to her hateful fashion views to her plastic face, she frightens me more than an army of Freddy Kreugers. Thank goodness her film credits are small and after her creepy cameo at the end of "Look Who's Talking" the producers had the good sense to replace her with Roseanne in the sequel (actually, that's kind of a lateral move).
Anyway, back to this movie. For some reason Dame Edna Everage (also played by Humphries) shows up, and compared to Rivers he/she's a Goddess. This movie has a lot of things going for it- exploding koalas, some animation, a character called Dr. Herpes- but unfortunately it's all tied into Patterson, a revolting character who at no time approached anything even remotely resembling likability. By the time you get to the finale at a revolving restaurant in which another man in drag shows up, you'll be longing for the quiet subtlety of "Reckless Kelly" (a movie I actually like- it's Yahoo Serious' "Laurence of Arabia).