Mr Accident (2000)

Online Biography

By Rollander Mackenzie

Film Information

Brief Overview

Mr Accident (2000)

Director: Yahoo Serious

Writers: Yahoo Serious
              David Roach

Released: 7 September 2000 (Australia)

Genre: Comedy

Plot Synopsis: The third film by writer/director/actor Yahoo Serious, the comedian tackles a variety of themes via his own unique satirical film style. Serious portrays the most accident prone man in the world trying to negotiate his way through the many areas of his life he has little control over. The film lampoons many aspects of modern life and through Serious’ askew comedic style confront such moral themes as globalisation, addiction, and overall, romance.

Main Cast
Yahoo Serious: Roger Crumpkin
Helen Dallimore: Sunday Valentine
David Filed: Duxton Chevalier
Grant Piro: Lyndon

Supporting Cast (in alphabetical order)
Annalise Braakensiek: Fay
Jeanette Cronin: Constable Rikki
Pippa Grandison: Nightclub Natasha
Libbi Gorr: Cpl. Brigitte
David Hoey: Roger’s Father
Paul Livingston: Enigmatic Stranger
Garry McDonald: Kelvin Chevalier
David Roach: Stoned Neighbour
Mark Treverrow: Refrigerator Salesman
Felix Williamson: Rats

Crew
Yahoo Serious: Director/Writer/Producer
Warwick Ross: Producer
Lulu Serious: Co-Producer
David Roach: Co-Producer and Co-Writer
Steve Arnold: Director of Photography
Simon Martin: Editor
Nerida Tyson-Chew: Composer
Brian Edmonds: Senior Art Director
Anousha Zarkesh: Casting
Anna Borghesi: Costume Design
Production and Distribution
Production Company
Goldwyn Films

Distribution Companies
Carlotta Films (Foreign Theatrical Distributor)
MGM Distributing Corporations; MGM Distribution Company (Domestic Theatrical Distributor), MGM Home Entertainment (Domestic Video Distributor).
Roadshow Films Pty Ltd (Theatrical Distributor)
Pathe Distribution (UK)
United Artists (Production Company)
Serious Entertainment (Production Company)

Release Dates (nationally and internationally)

Australia: 7 September 2000

USA: 24 March 2000
New Zealand: 14 February 2001
France: 11 July 2001

Film Information

Duration: 88 min running time
Genre: Comedy
Classification: Australian PG and US PG-13 for language, crude humour and some sensuality.
DVD Release: 30/06/2003
Budget:
Box Office Takings: 1,611,350

Online Presence

There is a considerably online presence of information on Mr Accident mainly attributed to exposure of the film via Yahoo Serious’ profile within the film community. As the writer/director/actor that had two previously somewhat successful films that gained recognition nationally and internationally, Mr Accident has received the momentum of attention from these.

The film has an unexpected amount of reviews and online information considering the calibre of the film. Although not all reviews sing the films praises I assumed the film may have been a little more forgotten and buried in time.

There is a substantial amount of information relating to conception, production and promotion of the film maintained on a homepage for the film that is linked to Yahoo Serious’ homepage. It seems that throughout the many stages of production of the film that an effort was made to document the process, as there are many interviews and comments by numerous people involved in the making of the film on the films homepage.

I assume that the film was one of the first to adopt a multi medium promotion of a feature film (being released in 2000, when the internet and its use were much less). As the homepage is very extensive and in depth in terms of information provided, yet the website is very non dynamic and limited in comparison to other movie websites today. Therefore suggesting that the homepage was most likely innovative and leading edge at the time, but is now rather dated.

Online Source Information

Mr Accident Homepage (via Yahoo Serious home page): http://www.yahooserious.com/accident/index.html

Internet Movie Database:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0156807/

National Film and Sound Archive: http://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au/nfsa/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;holdingType=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A540315;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10

Rotten Tomatoes: http://au.rottentomatoes.com/m/mr_accident/

 New York Times Movies: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/220924/Mr-Accident/overview

Bibliography of Interviews
        
Yahoo Serious Interview (prior to American release of Mr Accident) by Josh Kinal:
http://littlerunningbear.com/?page_id=22

There is limited online material of interviews from the film makers, yet the films homepage is a very informative in relation to many of the interactions between the film makers and their workings with each other.

Mr Accident Homepage: http://www.yahooserious.com/accident/index.html

Bibliography of Reviews

David Stratton
September 8th, 2000
Variety.com
http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117788028.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0

Louise Keller
Andrew L. Urban
Urban Cinefile
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=3945&Section=Reviews

Kurt Dahlke
Apollo Movie Guide
http://apolloguide.com/mov_fullrev.asp?CID=2769&Specific=700

Nathan Rabin
April, 19th, 2002.
A.V. Club
http://www.avclub.com/content/node/4460

Steve Baker
Barfly Magazine
http://www.iig.com.au/film/mraccident.html

EFilmCritic.com reviews (various viewer reviews)
http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1609

YahooMovies.com (various viewer reviews)
http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800023520/user

‘Special Agent Matti’
The C.I.A. (Cinematic Intelligence Agency)
http://thecia.com.au/reviews/m/mister-accident.shtml

Reviews and Quotes

“Seriously, Yahoo’s new film is fantastic”
The Age – September 2000

“Mr. Accident is by far the best, most admirable and enjoyable Australian film I have seen so far this year.”

“In its conception and execution, Mr Accident is superbly accomplished.”

“Few Australian movies orchestrate this many aspects of cinematic language into such a pleasing whole.”

“This film is a merry, surrealistic list of attractions great and small, suggesting some hitherto unimagined genre, like a sci-fi musical.”

“Breakthrough: Writer, director and star Yahoo Serious has made a superbly accomplished film brimming with gags.”

Adrian Martin
The Age

“You’ll be disarmed by it’s charm.”

“It’s a vibrant bit of black comedy guaranteed to send a pleasurable frisson through the inner child of all ages.”

Sandra Hall
Sydney Morning Herald

“Slapstick humour abounds in ‘Mr. Accident’”

“Here in the states, Australian humour is definitely an acquired taste. But once you have it, the craving for that wry blend of sophistication and innocence that’s always three degrees off-centre can only be satisfied by candy-coloured movies such as Mr. Accident”

Chuck Graham
Tucson Citizen

"Explosion of crazy ideas, fun characters with a lot of laughs...through the craziness, we are encouraged to pursue our dream, to nurture our imagination."
Louise Keller
Urban Cinefile

“The Yolk’s On You”

X-Press Magazine
September 2000

“Mr Accident is a sweet, screwball and charmingly innocent comedy that will appeal to kids as much as it does to adults”

Chelsea Hunter
X-Press

"There ought to be an advisory notice before the credits start: 'Please leave all expectations and preconceptions at the door.' The film takes off at a tangent and unless you begin with an open mind, it will take a while to adjust your mindset."
Andrew L. Urban
Urban Cinefile

Film Discussion

Critical Review

Plot

Roger Crumpton is severely accident prone, a trait which brings him joy and grief through many arduously long incidents that occur to him on a daily basis. He lives a simple life which in reality has nothing simple about it as a result of his clumsiness. Roger and his best friend/roommate work at the ‘Sydney Egg House’, where they carry out very different duties. Lyndon is a well organised and career orientated accountant for a global egg distribution company, whilst Roger is a mechanic on the warehouse floor. Roger thrives in dismantling all things mechanical although struggles to return anything to working order. Rogers’s obsessive compulsive dismantling obsession stems from family violence as a child, where he learnt to ‘never use his imagination again’.

The imagination Roger has resisted for most of his life is then re-invigorated when he finds an ‘alien hubcap’ in large industrial sized building site hole. This is triggered even more so by a chance meeting between Roger and an as equally kind-hearted and quirky girl, Sunday Valentine. Roger’s imagination runs wild as he further explores the origins of the ‘alien junk’ as he is encouraged by Sunday’s uncontained interest in UFO’s.

Meanwhile Roger and Lyndon’s boss is ‘convinced’ to step aside for his maniacal and eccentric brother, Duxton Chevalier. Duxton immediately begins to instigate a plan aimed at marketing nicotine laced eggs to the world.

Soon Roger’s accident prone behaviour begins to push away the people he cares for, as Lyndon struggles to deal with Roger and their new boss Duxton and Sunday realises she can’t commit to someone who is so haphazard. At the same time Duxton Chevalier has his heart broken by an innocent country girl, who turns out to be Sunday Valentine.

Roger must then gain his best friends faith, convince Sunday of his care for her, avoid his psychotic boss who discovers Roger and Sunday’s relationship, and kick his addiction to nicotine eggs all while trying not to get in his own accident prone way.

Synopsis

Roger Crumpkin is immediately introduced to us as the character the title of the movie makes reference too. In the first scene, in grand proportions Roger turns simple morning tasks into a calamity of destruction as the many mistakes he makes compile into a rabble of devastation. All this is then come upon by Rogers somewhat uptight but generally forgiving and understanding friend and room mate, Lyndon.

Roger and Lyndon both work at the ‘Sydney Egg House’, where they are apart of the empire Kelvin Chevalier has built. Kelvin’s love of eggs and the ‘family’ he has created shine through. This is challenged when Kelvin’s controlling and greedy brother, Duxton, steps in. Using questionable techniques, Duxton assumes control of the egg producing company and makes changes to suit his scheming. Whilst Duxton carries out his plans, he is left by his girlfriend, Sunday Valentine who has travelled from the country to visit him. Once reaching the bright lights of the city she wants more, and leaves Duxton to stay with her close friend Rikki.

Sunday attempts to find Rikki’s apartment but by chance or fate stumbles into Roger’s apartment and his life. Roger and Sunday’s chance meeting results in a natural connection, yet Roger is too nervous and cautious to be forward and Sunday is still smarting from her previous relationship.

With the two now existing in each others space they look for means to motivate further interactions. Through a freaky (or not so, within the life Roger lives) accident Roger finds what he believes is an UFO part. His intrigue into the object is sparked but then overcome the memory and motto of childhood where he was warned not to use his imagination.
This warning is then ignored and Roger follows his yearning for knowledge of the object as he discovers Sunday is obsessed with UFO’s herself. Roger uses this common interest as a means to engage interactions with Sunday.

As Roger tries to woo Sunday, Duxton and Lyndon struggle to meet over the running of the egg company. Now with Roger pursuing and Lyndon preoccupied with his work neither has the tolerance for each other they had previously. Their relationship is then further tested as Roger develops a strong nicotine addiction that he obtains from a line of genetically altered eggs that Duxton plans to release onto the market.

In typical ‘Roger’ style he struggles to balance the many things in his life and ultimately looses out on all of them. As he makes plans to right his wrongs, Duxton learns of Sunday and his employee Roger’s relationship. This inadvertently reunites Roger and his friend Lyndon who are still at odds. The two must then work together to avoid Duxton’s attempt at murder of both themselves and Sunday. Roger and Lyndon escape and Roger moves to prevent the looming fate of Sunday’s murder at the hands of Duxton.

Roger finally gains some good from the manner in which his accident prone behaviour affects him and saves Sunday, disposing of Duxton along the way and reuniting with his friend Lyndon.

Critical Uptake

Mr Accident is the first film of Yahoo Serious’ that can lay claim to pertaining to delivering a message, even though it’s the third film he has created. Although the first two films Serious write/directed/starred in (Young Einstein 1999, Reckless Kelly 1993) played upon and utilised established themes and often marooned them Mr Accident tackles much grander and relevant issues more representative of modern times. The style of humour and techniques used to highlight these themes are still presented in typical Serious style but in Mr Accident it can be seen that there has been more of an attempt to create a world to present and explore themes and issues rather than utilise isolated techniques. In this sense Mr Accident presents more of a cohesive universe and the themes have greater context and therefore I feel greater understanding.

Serious enables many of the styles of humour that audiences have become familiar with. Physical humour is mixed with obscurely linked cultural references often presenting a disjointed yet somehow connected presentation. This is more so visible in Mr Accident where an almost vaudeville facet of physical comedy is utilised and the world in which all this happens is a balanced mixed of absurdism and reality. This is highly affected as the extreme and border crossing aspects of Mr Accident are not too removed from the world we are familiar with and therefore the audience can easily make reference with the films world and their world.

The goals and justification of the creator, Serious, is apparent in this statement;

“The immediate impression in my movies is the 'circus comes to town' physical comedy. But at the core is usually an absurd socio/political satire. This time we enjoy giving the amoral tobacco companies a serve."
Yahoo Serious
Available Online: http://www.yahooserious.com/accident/about.html

One thing that aids to the understanding and intake of the film is the established style of comedy that Yahoo Serious has for himself. As the third film Serious has created from his own unique mind and style of humour and comment the audience is somewhat prepared and more open minded than usual. For those who had not been exposed to the very distinctive style Serious is known for then I feel this film would be a little more puzzling for them. As with different genres of film audiences are trained to recognise and ‘unpack’ different information sets that are constantly re-enforced within the films of the genre. This can be said and is applicable to the style of Yahoo Serious. For those accustomed to the experience they would be more streamline in their accepting and understanding of information presented. Where those who are experiencing the style for the first time may be confronted with an explosion of information which in our world may not tie in at all but within the context of the film is viable. This may cause first time viewers to be lost in the information presented and therefore the meaning may be lost also.

This ‘acquired’ taste for Yahoo Serious’ comedic style is re-enforced by many of the critic’s reviews. From professional movie critics to the general audience reviews many have stated that Mr Accident pertains to this very specific style of humour. Some international critics have also stated that the style of humour unique to Serious’ films is very specifically Australian and is present in Mr Accident.

The film was received moderately by audiences, but had the task of automatically being compared to Serious’ two previous films. In this sense the film was not as successful as Young Einstein (1988) and Reckless Kelly (1993) as the world created and the themes presented within Mr Accident are a little more complex and subtle and dare I say it “serious” compared to Yahoo’s previously created films.

Production and Distribution

The funding for the film was obtained by the creator Serious and his co-writer David Roach. From my understanding the pair constantly worked on concepts and pieces together and after gaining funding to develop one of their ideas they chose to forward the Mr Accident concept. After they secured strong creative control of the film they then worked hard and developing their concepts and aimed and solidifying a narrative within.

Although Serious is credited with many hats within the production of the film and the film could be seen to be ‘his baby’, from production notes the project appears to be a truly collaborative effort. As Serious is very hands on with his projects and greatly involving of the people he surrounds himself with in all stages of production.

The movie was shot completely in Sydney, Australia, on location and on sound stages and its release was coincided with the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a celebration of our unique Australian humour and comedy. The film was released internationally but from my understanding only to select countries where Yahoo Serious’ previous films had been successful, being that of the U.S, New Zealand, France and Italy. The film has been released and premiered on DVD and television networks in other countries within Europe also. 

Cast and Crew Credits

Crew

Yahoo Serious
Serious’ filmography is not extensive but his experience in the industry is very broad as he has been involved in all stages of production of his three films. He has created, written and acted in all three of his feature films and is very active in his involvement.

Young Einstein (1988): writer/director/actor/producer
Reckless Kelly (1993): writer/director/actor/producer
Mr Accident (2000): writer/director/actor/producer

David Roach
Roach’s film experience is mainly based in music composition and within music departments of film production as he is a prominent saxophonist in his own right. Roach has also collaborated with Serious on his previous film productions in a writing capacity and with other miscellaneous crew credits.

Steve Arnold
Arnold has worked as a cinematographer in Australian for over 20 years in TV and in film. He has also worked as camera operator and within the electrical department of many of the films he is DOP for.

Nerida Tyson-Chew
Tyson-Chew has work in both Australia and the UK as a composer for television and film. Her work also ranges from live action and animation within the US.

Simon Martin
Simon Martin has worked mainly in television productions in Australia, noticeably Saturday morning/weekday arvo children’s television. Mr Accident is a standout in Martin’s filmography as many of his other work is on television episodes.

Cast

The cast of Mr Accident is a distinctively Australian comedy cast. Many of the roles are filled with comedians not known for their acting abilities, but more specifically known for their style of humour. There is a definite link in comedic styles between many of the actors as individuals and this shines throughout their performances. Names such as Grant Piro, David Hoey, Libbi Gore and Mark Trevorrow are present within the cast and they offer their very individual and uniquely intelligent style of humour to the collective comedy style. More established and well known actors in their own right who also offer great comedic experience are Gary McDonald and David Field. 

Position of Film within Australian Film Culture

Mr Accident is held within a certain regard as an Australian film. Its failures are held in an affectionate manner due to its place as the works of a unique and interesting Australian character. I definitely feel that if this film was not apart of the lexicon of Yahoo Serious that it would not be held in the same regard. Due to the context of humour and delivery of themes Yahoo Serious utilises the films flaws are often overlooked compared to, I feel, how a similar film made by different people would be reacted to.

Knowingly or not it feels that Serious somewhat exploits this and Mr Accident pushes some boundaries relating to how most Australian comedy films are presented. The creator is given a lot more leeway compared to many other comedy films of the time and even though the film did not exceed any of the success of other comedy films of the time, what Mr Accident has done is escaped the criticism and disregard often given to Australian comedy films.