A more modest leg-pull is this New Zealand feature, wherein Bryan Marshall plays an over-the-hill pop-singer who fakes his own death to boost record sales but runs foul of the dodgy producer (Martyn Sanderson) who would like to make his death real. Farcical complications involve an animal-rights terrorist (Cliff Curtis) who has it in for the pop-singer because he has fronted fried-chicken ads. There’s also a sub plot about a bodyguard (Ellie Smith) who has a horrid child in tow.

Chicken was written and directed by Grant Lahood, who has hitherto made shorts (The Singing Trophy, Lemming Aid) with a violent, bloke-ish sense of humour. Chicken’s pacing is a little like a series of gags joined together. There are bursts of frantic activity around its seedy Wellington locations, followed by patches of lumpy verbal exposition. The best of it are its flashbacks to Bryan Marshall’s career as a 1960s teenybopper idol. On the whole, though, Chicken itself is a flashback to the days of she’ll-be-right, wood-and-chicken-wire New Zealand film production. Fun if you’re prepared to be indulgent to local talent.

North & South Review by Nicholas Reid - June 1996

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