Wedding comedies have practically become a film genre all of their own.
From Four Weddings And A Funeral to Bridesmaids, audiences have been rolling in aisles over people walking down the aisle for years.
A Few Best Men is a wedding comedy with culture-clash twist. British lads Graham, Tom and Luke accompany their best mate David to Australia, where he’s planning to tie the knot with an Aussie girl he fell in love with on holiday.
The trio are probably the worst people anyone would want to be representing them on their big day, but orphan David doesn’t really have a choice.
Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop play brash, reckless Tom and uptight, geeky Graham.
In real life, the pair are old friends and, though they joke that they hated living together in Australia while filming, it was clearly as fun as the film looks.
“I think they regretted it in the long run because it was basically me and Kris living together in Bondi beach”, says Bishop, smirking.
They’re very different from their characters, though. Marshall seems quiet, and even manages to be serious at times, sitting arms folded and peering through thick-rimmed spectacles.
Bishop, with blonde streaks in his hair, shows off his dark tan in lurid shorts, sitting confidently with his legs wide apart.
They both agree it’s easy to make weddings funny.
“It’s a high-pressure situation”, muses Marshall. “It’s one of those things like funerals, weddings...”
“Bar mitzvahs!” Bishop butts in.
“All your friends are there, all your family”, Marshall goes on. “Everything’s got to go right, nothing can go wrong. And one thing you can’t control is the groom’s mates.”
A Few Best Men, written by Death At A Funeral’s Dean Craig, combines the humour of the two cultures, while paying homage to the beautiful Australian landscape.
Things start to go wrong for the jet-lagged lads not long after they touch down. But the disasters that ensue are by no means predictable.
The father-of-the-bride is an ambitious politician whose pet sheep has become his lucky mascot. After taking the groom out drinking on his last night of freedom, the friends wake up on the day of the wedding to discover they have kidnapped Ramsay.
Things don’t get any better when he eats something that they really need to get back in a hurry. Marshall and Bishop had to get extremely intimate with the beast as they try and wrestle it back.
“There were two rams,” explains Bishop.
“One was a homicidal maniac and we never used him again because he tried to kill us all in the rehearsal. But there was another one, who was also a little bit crazy.”
There was a sheep trainer on hand to control the animals, but there wasn’t really much advice he could give in regard to straddling it naked and sticking a hand up its behind.
“He told us to just hold its horns and hang on basically. These things are about 200 pounds, they’re not small,” Marshall reveals.
“I didn’t actually have my hand up...” Bishop adds in mock reassurance. “We managed to make it look like that.”
Another big surprise in the film is Olivia Newton-John as the mother-of-the-bride.
The Grease star is certainly no Sandra Dee in this role, which sees her snort cocaine, swing from light fitting and get all of the guests doing the YMCA.
According to Marshall and Bishop, she was great fun to work with.
“She was like our on-set mother,” raves Marshall. “She kept giving us snacks and made sure we were well fed. She’s an amazing woman.”
Bishop adds: “She was just really lovely. I played tennis with her.”
Marshall made his name on BBC sitcom My Family, which also saw Bishop make an appearance as his sister Janey’s boyfriend, ‘Stupid Brian’.
“I just enjoy comedy,” says Bishop, who has won awards for his sketch show Star Stories. “It’s great fun. It’s nice to mix it up and do different things. But yeah, most of my work is comedy.”
Marshall agrees. “Mine too, actually,” says the actor, whose notable film roles include Richard Curtis’s Love Actually.
“It wasn’t always like that. I used to do a lot of drama.”
For some reason, despite their professional backgrounds, Marshall and Bishop have never been asked to be a best man in real life. “I think that is a mistake from all of my friends,” jokes Bishop.
“So if you see this any of you, you could have had a really great speech, but you went for Dan instead, which is fine I’m over it!” he adds dramatically.
“I’ve never been a best man either,” says Marshall. But, based on his character’s experience, he does have some advice for anybody who is taking on the job.
“I would say, on the stag do, don’t go to sleep first...”