Gary of the Pacific

Out Now On-Demand

Some men are born leaders. Gary isn't one of them.

A loser real estate agent (Josh Thomson) becomes the chief of a sinking Pacific island in this Kiwi-Pacific comedy from thedownlowconcept (TV's 7 Days).

When struggling real-estate agent Gary Vasisi (Thomson) is called back to his homeland in the Pacific, he’s handed a great opportunity - the chance to take his dying father’s crown and become Chief of an island that is rapidly sinking into the ocean. With a treasury and a tropical paradise to his name, Gary hopes to give his girlfriend Chloe (Megan Stevenson) the wedding she wants and finally attain the success he's yearned for. Even if it is at the expense of his people.




Rating: M Violence, offensive language, sexual references & nudity

New Zealand

With a strong pedigree in short-form and TV comedy, news that thedownlowconcept had a feature-length effort on the way came as exciting news. Unfortunately, the writing-directing trio’s first big screen effort, Gary of the Pacific, is somewhat of a disappointment.

The titular Gary - Josh Thomson in a long-overdue lead role - is a loser real estate agent, returning home to a small Pacific island on the brink of being swallowed by rising sea levels, and seizing an opportunity to take the mantle of chief. Rather than focusing on the future of his sudden subjects, however, Gary’s motive is to keep his economically unsustainable and egotistically untethered lifestyle afloat, including giving a boost to a floundering romantic relationship with an unenthusiastic girlfriend/employee.

Thomson’s unafraid to veer from selfish to buffoon, romantic to rotten, comfortable in the many modes required of him. Gary certainly doesn’t shirk from trying to squeeze as many gags out of Thomson’s arse, or classing up its Pacific island setting by putting him in unflattering garb, as it possibly can. It’s a shame, though, that the film really doesn’t get enough out of his prodigious mirth, though he seems at ease in Gary’s skin. Elsewhere, Matt Whelan and Dave Fane prove highlights of the supporting cast with perfectly-pitched dry and over-the-top turns respectively.

Sub-plots come and go at a whim, and the film never seems entirely confident of what its main thrust should be as it juggles romance, familial responsibilities, wilful ignorance of future consequences - even a ghost - within its generally conventional framework. Most deflating of all, is that Gary is cast as too reprehensible a figure to deserve redemption. Without the audience on his side, it’s hard to care how things will pan out for him.

For those less worried about the above than just seeing a bunch of jokes, Gary may still come up short in major laugh-out-loud moments. There’s humour throughout, but often lower-key than you’d expect from a cinematic comedy, resulting in amusement rather than belly laughs for the majority of the film. In a more clearly character-driven exercise that would be fine, but that can’t sustain the energy needed for this broadly-pitched pic. (Steve Kilgallon)


...they've [thedownlowconcept] clearly aimed, as any good Kiwi film with mainstream ambition would, to collect as wide an audience as possible on the way and that's left it a touch too gentle and frankly linear to be top-class. (Graeme Tuckett)


GARY more or less comes right in the last hour. It never really coalesces into anything you could call a coherent story. But the individual moments and scenes that make up the brief running-time are occasionally very funny. (James Croot)


Sporadically funny, Gary feels surprisingly dated for a project put together by a team best known for a topical comedy show.



Yay for NZ film!

Saw this last night; so funny and cute! Awesome, REAL characters that you're not sure if you like but can't stop watching all the same, beautifully shot and wonderfully nuanced performances, especially from the shameless Gary's various bits ands pieces. The rolling undercurrent of humour is an ever present, welcome antidote to the usual in your face gags that feel like they're missing canned laughter to further cheapen a broad "comedy". Very enjoyable film, made me want an island holiday immediately!

Stays on one level

right the way through. No highs but no lows. Worth going to.


What a gem! This movie is so warm, clever and totally hilarious. I'd recommend it to anyone for a thoroughly enjoyable time.