Hunt for the Wilderpeople

This award-winning PG-13 comedy was submitted to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival by New Zealand. That's why some of you have seen this review before. We follow a simple little story that escalates into national manhunt in the spectacular New Zealand bush, when a rebellious boy and his grumpy new foster uncle go missing.

Actor/writer/director Taika Waititi ("What We Do In the Shadows") has adapted his screenplay from the popular book "Wild Pork and Watercress" by the late Barry Crump. The screenplay is divided into ten chapters which organizes our story into coherent (funny) chunks, but I'll skip that technique here.

The cast:
  • Julian Dennison - Ricky Baker is a defiant, rebellious young juvenile delinquent. Child Protective Services brings this pudgy boy out to a country place to live with a new set of foster parents. He is surly and uncooperative. The only thing he likes in his new bedroom is a hot water bottle. He steals a flashlight and runs away.
  • Rima Te Wiata - Bella M. Faulkner smiles when Ricky runs away. In the morning she greets him out in the woods, tells him he only made it about 200 yards, so she offers him breakfast. That way he won't be hungry when he runs away again. He's a bit flummoxed.
  • Sam Neill - Hector Faulkner is a cantankerous old loner. His wife tolerates him with good cheer and works around his bad temper. When Ricky angrily describes him as a child molester, nothing could be further from the truth, but the media eats it up!
  • Rachel House - Paula Hall can only follow the Child Protection Agency manual. It says if a boy can't fit into a foster home, he's off to Juvenile Detention! She is like a bulldog: She can't let go!
  • Oscar Kightley - Officer Andy just wants to keep a low profile, avoid a verbal assault by Ms. Hall, and maybe find a tasty snack.
As we expected, this story was (eventually) predictable, but the surprises kept coming and the story just kept getting better. The women are particularly good and young Dennison makes his story arc look easy. Granted, some of this goofy adventure is over the top, but by then we are having such a good time and are so invested in our people, we don't care.

I'll probably own this DVD because I missed a lot of the witty dialogue.
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Here is a trailer:
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