Director: Nick Giannopoulos
Writer(s): Chris Anastassiade, Ray Boseley, Nick Giannopoulos
Filming: Filmed in Perth and Melbourne in Australia from October 2002.
Box Office: Made AU$1,215,252 in Australia.
Runtime: 94 minutes
Rating: R in the US, M in Australia, and 15 in the UK
A bumbling group of jewel thieves become the hottest thing since The Wiggles after dressing up like a children’s singing group in order to snatch a priceless necklace.
DANNY (Nick Giannopoulos) never had much talent. But that didn’t stop him devoting his life to the performing arts. His career – teaching at his mother’s talent school – is going nowhere when he is asked to teach a bunch of wannabes how to sing and dance. Hardened crim MARCUS (Russell Dykstra) tells Danny he and his shady friends want to be a children’s group. Their real ambition is to crash a party that local billionaire MRS RORY VAN DYKE (Lena Cruz), is throwing for her grandson and make off with her three million dollar diamond necklace. Danny takes one look at the crooks’ immense lack of talent and turns them down. Then he takes a long, good look at Marcus’ gorgeous sister KIRSTY (Isla Fisher) and decides the gang might have something he can work with after all.
The Wannabes, Australia’s first politically incorrect children’s group are born. Come show-time, a last minute injury means Danny is forced to become part of the act. The theft is bungled but the Wannabes are a hit. They’re armed and hopeless but the kiddies love them. They are swamped with bookings and soon they are making TV appearances, magazine covers and chart-topping CDs. Finding themselves in a lucrative new profession, these crim’s can afford to give up their day (or night) jobs. But the past has a way of catching up to you. Soon The Wannabes are back in the crime game putting their newfound careers, fame and fortune – not to mention the joy of thousands of little fans – all on the line.
Nick Giannopoulos… as Danny
Russell Dykstra… as Marcus
Michael Carman… as Jimmy King
Lena Cruz… as Aurora ‘Rory’ Van Dyke
Tony Nikolakopoulos… as Stewie
Premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on May 8th 2003. Received its first cinematic release in Australia on September 25th 2003, and followed in New Zealand in February 2004. Went straight to DVD in the US, on October 27th 2009.
According to Amazon, Isla plays Kirsty, ‘a sexy bad girl, who seduces Danny, a failed entertainer, in order to get him to accept a job training a crew of criminals posing as a children’s entertainment group.’ Kirsty is the sister of Marcus, the head criminal, and she is roped into seducing Danny to get him to help Marcus and his gang to commit a crime. Kirsty must also think of her son along the way though.
• Also known as Criminal Ways.
• Isla speaks with her Australian accent in this role.
• Isla plays a mother for the first time.
– Nick Giannopoulos: “Isla agreed to do this film, because she can essentially pick and choose her movies now, especially with Scooby doing great business. She’s great in this movie, I think she’s going to really surprise everyone.”
– Nick Giannopoulos: “I very much wanted it to be an ensemble comedy. I didn’t want it to be just about me… I’m pretty happy with it so far in that everybody in this film gets a chance to show their stuff. And even if you’re a Nick Giannopoulos fan, by the end of this film you’ll be a Ryan Johnson, Lena Cruz, Russel Dykstra, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Isla Fisher fan as well.”
– Kirsty: “I reckon it’s great what you’re doing with the guys! They really need the help.”
– Danny: “Yeah well they need to get hard. I mena, uh, they’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of them. Well you know what I mean.”
– Kirsty: [giggles]
– Kirsty: “You can make dress patterns?”
– Danny: “Yeah, um, my mother sent me to dress-making school.”
– Kirsty: “That’s … interesting.”
– Danny: “I like you. And I wanna take care of both of you.”
– Kirsty: “You’d do that for us?”
– Danny: “Yes I would.”
– Kirsty: “You’re a condescending prick.”
– Danny: “Kirsty I think you’re taking this the wrong way.”
– Kirsty: “How long have you known me? Five minutes! You don’t know anything about me. And who are you to tell me I’ve fucked up?!”
– Danny: “No I didn’t say you’d fucked up, just that you had a fucked life.”
– Kirsty: “And yours has been really well adjusted. Humiliated on tv as a little kid, having a venemous bitch for a mother…”
– Danny: “When did you meet my mother?”
• UrbanCinefile.com.au : “Newcomer Isla Fisher is effective, but it’s Lena Cruz who steals the film as the gold digger wife to an ageing millionaire, with a characterisation that pays homage to Rose Hancock in a wholehearted outing which sets the level at which the film might have been played by all – if not straight and dark and real (my preference, always).”
• UrbanCinefile.com.au : “I really like Isla Fisher as Marcus’ eye-catching sister Kirsty; the implied love interest between Kirsty and Danny is quite charming.”
• DVD.net.au: “As far as Australian comedies go, this one is not going to be remembered as anything too special. In fact, it’s fair to suggest that most punters will struggle to find anything very amusing within, but those who enjoy very lightweight comedies that require no brain power will almost certainly get a few laughs.”
• Variety: “As director, Giannopoulos does a competent job, giving the film a colorful look and bouncy pace. The script could have used tighter plotting of the kidnapping antics and resulting final-act chaos.”
• BlogCritics.org: “His very pretty sister, Kirsty, is played by the adorable Isla Fisher. The movie is entertaining in an in-your-face and immature kind of way.”
• WebWombat.com.au: “Giannopoulos and co-writers Chris Anastassiades and Ray Boseley have a great idea here – the ‘children’s’ group being such a trend at the moment – but unfortunately it just isn’t milked as well as it could’ve been. The script’s pretty chaotic, and the laughs, well, they don’t come thick and fast. The first half of the film – though nothing special – shows good potential, and does have the odd good moment, but by the middle it’s ostensibly no more than a series of stitched together gags that don’t seem to work.”
• Murdoch.edu.au: “The acting is reasonable, with impressive performances by the characters of Rory Van Dyke (Lena Cruz), Hammer (Ryan Johnson), Marcus (Russell Dykstra) and Kirsty (Isla Fisher), all who seem to portray their characters rather believably and humorously.”
I haven’t seen this film so can’t comment on the whole thing, but from what I have seen from the screencaptures and clips that have been uploaded here by our former webmasters, it seems that Isla had quite a significant part in this film. Her character was important to the storyline, but at the same time was just a basic girlfriend-who-gets-used-then-falls-in-love role. It seems like a very silly, crude film which might be good for when you need a bit of a laugh. It doesn’t appear that Isla got to use her comedic skills – or any kind of skills – to the max here though, unfortunately.
We are not aware of any promotion Isla might have done for this film.
News & Updates for The Wannabees at Isla Fisher Web