'Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Collection'
(Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Kristen Schaal, Arj Barker, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / HBO)
Overview: Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie -- a.k.a. Flight of the Conchords -- moved to New York in the hopes of forging a successful music career. Unfortunately, despite their status as "New Zealand’s 4th Most Popular Folk Parody Duo," fame and notoriety continue to elude them. Watch as Bret and Jemaine contend with unrequited love, inept criminals, prostitution, and epileptic dogs, breaking into song as they clumsily try to break into the New York scene.
DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Flight of the Conchords is a Grammy award winning New Zealand-based comedy duo composed of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. Billing themselves as "formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo", the group uses a combination of witty observation, characterisation and acoustic guitar music.
The duo's comedy and music became the basis of a BBC radio series and then an American television series, which premiered in 2007 on HBO, also called Flight of the Conchords ... and is now, obviously, out on DVD in a wonderful 4-disc DVD collection!
In the show, the writing is brimming over with effortless weirdness, as the guys encounter everyday problems (threesomes, girlfriend woes, weird dreams) which soon turn into hilariously surreal situations (the disturbing children's show, "Albi the Racist Dragon"). The dialogue is amazing ("When I first met you you tried to have me deported from New Zealand because you thought I was an Australian"), and full of rambling conversations that just get stranger with every line ("Have you ever had a threesome?" "Nearly." "What do you mean, nearly?" "I've had a twosome").
The songs are gutsplitting as well, since they're all about homicidal robots, mermaids, toothpaste, hip-hop spoofs, hermaphrodites ("Oh you sexy hermaphrodite lady-man-ladies"), rappers, cannibalism, and the hiphop-potamus. Not to mention "Frodo, Don't Wear the Ring" and its accompanying music video, which are a nod to McKenzie's role as the elf Figwit.
But none of this would be even half as funny if it weren't for the actors - Clement's self-named chatacter is stoic and kind of weird (he writes a song about putting a wig on Bret), while McKenzie's is more childlike, naive and likes to sit in a cardboard box. Darby rounds out the cast as their harried, rather pathetic manager (who isn't even supposed to be managing a band), and Schaal is also quite funny as a woman who has a creepy sexual fixation on the guys.
'Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Series' is one of the rarest kind of comedy out there - steady, hysterical, and only gets better with repeated viewings. And boy, are you sorry when it's over! [EAS] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
All 22 episodes from the series
Flight of the Conchords: One Night Stand--Never-before-released 30-minute special
Flight of the Conchords: On Air documentary feature
Dave's pawn shop commercials
New Zealand Consulate meetings with Murray and Greg