Welcome To Woop Woop

on November 13, 1998 by Christine James
   Teddy ("That Thing You Do!'s" Johnathon Schaech) has gotten himself into a revolting situation, emphasis on "revolting." Helmer Stephan Elliott's sophomore effort is just that-sophomoric, employing relentless gross-out gags in place of humor. There are a few amusing moments, characters and ideas, but Elliott's trademark whimsy doesn't work when set against such a bleak backdrop. For the most part, "Woop Woop" is a great disappointment from the filmmaker who brought us 1994's brilliantly comic and warmly touching "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Like "Priscilla," "Woop Woop" is set in the remote Australian outback. But the similarities end there.
   Teddy, a charming con man on the run, is kidnapped by Angie ("Paradise Road's" Susie Porter), an oversexed hitchhiker who drugs him and drags him off to her home town of Woop Woop, a primitive hovel of a village populated by about 50 twisted, repellant residents and ruled by Angie's intimidating father, the dictatorial Daddy-O (Rod Taylor). To add some variety to the gene pool, every once in a while some hapless man is nabbed and forced into husbandry. Daddy-O mandates that no one can ever leave Woop Woop, under penalty of death. To his credit, Elliott has successfully created an environment so vile that it appropriately evokes the direness of escape. But unfortunately, the audience will also want to escape, long before the credits roll. (Those who do sit through the whole thing, watch for the post-credits punchline).    Starring Johnathon Schaech, Susie Porter and Rod Taylor. Directed by Stephan Elliott. Written by Michael Thomas. Produced by Finola Dwyer. An MGM release. Rated R for strong sexuality and language, and for some drug content. Running time: 96 min.
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