Film Review: Hardy Bucks

The Hardy Bucks head to Poland – with a raunchy stopover in ‘the ‘Dam’

The Hardy Bucks Movie is the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey – the sort of ‘where did that come from’ success story that makes aspiring industry professionals wonder if there’s just any point at all. In the case of The Hardy Bucks Movie, it started off life as a cult Youtube mockumentary and ended up spinning off into a TV show and a Irish Film Board funded movie. And like Fifty Shades of Grey, you kind of enjoy it but you aren’t sure if you should admit that to people. Probably definitely not your mother.

It is 2012 and the film’s eponymous hardy bucks – Eddie Durkin (Martin Maloney), Buzz O’Donnell (Owen Colgan), The Boo (Tom Kilgallon) and Frenchtoast O’Toole (Peter Cassidy) – long to escape the dreary delirium of their home-town of Castletown to answer the siren-call of wine, women and football in Poland, where Ireland is playing (not too successfully) in the European Championships. Unfortunately they are broke, gormless and don’t have any tickets – not that it’s going to stop them. Goaded on by seeing their arch-nemesis Viper (Chris Tordoff) swan off in a borrowed RV with two tickets, Eddie Durkin evicts some turkeys from his uncle’s van and convinces the recently bereaved Michael Salmon to bankroll the trip from his inheritance.

Or course, what’s a trip across Europe without a stop in the ‘Dam? Probably, in hindsight, a lot less traumatic.

That’s the saving grace of The Hardy Bucks Movie. It jogs along in the wake of films like The Hangover (part ad infinitum) and Road Trip, with heaping helpings of sex jokes, drugs and more sex jokes, but it’s not some x-rated hero’s journey. Nobody gets the girl, nobody learns anything important about themselves and the film actually manages to be less misogynistic than most of Hollywood’s contributions to the genre.

No, really. It’s unproblematic, but the sex-workers in the ‘Dam are possessed of agency and personality, the female villain of the piece is competent and efficient and the one girlfriend the boys can boast between them (Buzz’s never seen but quite tolerant partner) is treated with…well, as much respect as the lads show each other. Along with Salmon’s Irish-flag gimp suit, the scene where the lads politely call through to mid-coital Buzz to ask if he and his lady friend would like a cup of tea is one of my favourites in the film. It is also, possibly, the most Irish thing ever seen – mostly because she does tell them how she takes her tea.

The Hardy Bucks Movie isn’t going to have your sides aching at the end of it, but it is consistently funny for at least 6/8’s of the film. It’s full of oddly charming little character asides – such as the repellently endearing Viper constantly, shamelessly admitting to people how lonely and sad he is – and drawn-out scenes that pass ‘falling flat’ and come back around to funny again.

The story sags a bit once the lads actually reach Poland and attention has to be paid to the plot again, but the over-the-top Polish gangster at the end does kind of save the day. I would pay good money to see him in Taken 3 (Taken by Surprise!) asking Liam Neeson for a sock job (that wasn’t actually what he said, but I misheard and well…).

The Hardy Bucks Movie can be see at Moviehouse Cinemas from April 5