Fried Barry review – alien’s scuzzy body-horror odyssey in Cape Town

his gleefully lurid, picaresque journey through a few days in Cape Town for an alien inhabiting the body of a skeevy junkie named Barry (Gary Green) won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But scattered among the gross-out scenes – involving violence or bodily fluids or both, the bouts of softcore shagging, and innumerable garish “trippy” bits where the protagonist and his acquaintances do drugs – there’s actually some reasonably sharply comic, surprisingly touching and straight-up well-acted moments.

Presumably, the key variables are the improvising performers that first-time director Ryan Kruger, fluffing up what was originally a short into feature length, collaborated with for each scene. 일부, like Chanelle de Jager, who plays Barry’s longsuffering wife and is given to long profane rants in Afrikaans about Barry’s uselessness, have real acting chops and bring a palpable humanity to the absurdist setup. 그는 재즈 연주자, Sean Cameron Michael and Joe Vaz as psychiatric hospital patients display great comic timing in their bit, and Graham Clarke makes for a terrifyingly sadistic psychopath who performs impromptu dentistry on Barry. Lead actor Green, despite the fact that he apparently worked mostly as a stuntman and had non-speaking roles before this, also has a magnetic screen presence, even though he’s not exactly pretty enough to explain why every woman he meets wants to have sex with him. His improvisational skills are on the same par as the others, but that works just fine given he’s meant to be a broer from another planet.

The film’s main failing is that it doesn’t seem to have very much to say about the society in which it’s set. Compared to other Candide-like satires, like O Lucky Man!, Lindsay Anderson’s rollicking adventure through early 1970s Britain, or Rolf de Heer’s marvellously bonkers Bad Boy Bubby from 1993, which romped through another southern hemisphere city in the shape of Adelaide, Fried Barry feels much more like a shaggy dog story without a point: random and meaningless. Or maybe that is the point?

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