Sione's 2: Three weddings and a funeral

Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business
Directed by Simon Bennett
Produced by John Barnett and Paul Davis
Written by James Griffin and Oscar Kightley

At the next New Zealand film awards it will be surprising if Alert Taxis is not entered in Best Supporting Role for its involvement in the sequel to Sione's Wedding. The cab company vehicles make a number of appearances, including conveying the heroes around town.

As a piece of product placement it is ingenious, making it look as the Alert Cabs are as ubiquitous as Yellow Cabs are in New York.

This new film is set a few years after Sione's Wedding and although the guys have done some growing up they are still fairly uncommitted Grey Lynn boys who haven’t really got their acts together.

Albert (Oscar Kightley) is now married to Tania and they are living in suburbia, both working in insurance and desperate to have a baby; Sefa (Shimpai Lelisi) and Leilani are still together with two children, but married. Stanley (Iaheto Ah Li) is a Deacon in the wacky Future Church, Michael (Robbie Magasiva) has moved to Australia and Bolo (David Fane) works with Sione, Michael’s younger brother.

Their lax friendship is abruptly challenged as they are required to go on a quest looking for Bolo, who is convinced he a has killed someone, and they think is about to commit suicide.

The day-long search takes them on a whirlwind tour visiting a host of bars and nightclubs (the venue names have been changed but we still no where they are – more subtle product placement) in what turns out to be a quirky travelogue of Auckland’s inner West.

It’s a film that sees the world from a Pacific perspective but one where the characters are still defining what being Pacific, gainfully employed, responsible and culturally committed really means.

This bunch of hapless Sancho Panzas following their Don Quixote on their mission allows for some absurdly farcical situations, as well as cringe making one liners and some brilliant humour.

Most of the time writers James Griffin and Oscar Kightley do a superb job with a script, which plays with Pacific humour but occasionally it feels as though the clever jokes have been dropped into the dialogue just because they are funny but not really developing out of the plot.

Religion comes in for a bit of a thrashing with Nathaniel Lees as the conservative Pacific minister exerting his God-given right to order people about as well as Kirk Torrance as the Bishop Tamaki take-off oozing his way around the place, keeping Stanley under his thumb.

Each of the characters is nicely fleshed out and developed with a hand crafted set of jokes to match such as Stanley endlessly quoting song lyrics as being from the Bible.

The grown up Albert attempts to be team leader but finds that it is really not the Samoan way with each of the characters hiving off to explore their own way of solving the Bolo mystery.

Mario Gaoa in the non-speaking role of Eugene does great job as the greatly put-upon elder of the church and Alert cab driver.

Madeleine Sami as Tania and Teuila Blakely as Leilani provide the sensible women along with Ayse Tezel as the slightly maniacal Maria, Michael’s girlfriend who has links to the Australian mafia.

The boys' mission may well be a chance for them to grow up but when everything is finally resolved it's fairly clear they have just donned the illusion of respectability and responsibility. Deep down they are waiting for Sione's 3.