You wouldn't think drug smuggling would be a subject ripe for laughs – remember Nicole Kidman's star-making turn in the TV mini-series Bangkok Hilton? – but The Smuggler (which was released in its native Australia as The Mule) shows that it's more than possible.
Of course, laughing at the misfortune of others has long been a staple of Aussie comedy. And here, star, co-writer and co-director Sampson milks the concept for all it's worth. He plays Ray Jenkins, an average suburban lad (he still lives at home with mum and dad) who is roped in by footy teammate Gavin (Whannell) to a scheme to smuggle 20 condoms full of of heroin back from Thailand. Caught at customs, the police need to get hold of the evidence so they can charge him, but Ray refuses to submit to an X-ray and won't take laxatives, so the cops hole him up in an airport hotel to wait for nature to take its course.
It's a little sluggish at times, but for the most part this is a cracking comic drama that takes the basic premise of a bloke refusing to take a dump and having some fun with it. As the week progresses, Ray's discomfort becomes more palpable, as does the fustrations of the detectives, led by hard-man Tom Croft (Weaving). It's a terrific screenplay, and Weaving is having loads of fun spitting out his lines with pure venom, while Sampson plays it deadpan, his Ray a rather simple, gormless chap.
The Smuggler is sharp, well-made and a perfect example of Aussie filmmaking at its finest. And if, after watching it, you are considering a career as a drug mule, then you're thicker than Ray...
EXTRAS: Just under 45-minutes' worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes and cast interviews.