Fat Pizza, the 2003, Sydney-shot comedy film based on the SBS series of the same name, is turning 20 this year.
To celebrate, creator Paul Fenech is holding two special event screenings, where he will be present for Q&A’s along with other members of the original cast.
The show, which first aired in 2000 and was originally titled Pizza, centres on the Sydney-based man Pauly and his fellow co-workers as they deliver pizzas for ‘Fat Pizza’, a pizzeria owned by Bobo Gigliotti.
The central theme of the series was the plight of working class ethnic communities and, more specifically, the perils of being a delivery driver – whether that meant getting accosted by criminals (or worse, the police), or going toe to toe with aliens and killer kangaroos.
The film expanded upon and, some would say, refined these ideas. In Fat Pizza (2003), Bobo Gigliotti (Johnny Boxer), an ageing, virginal pizza chef, impatiently awaits the arrival of his Southeast Asian mail-order bride. Meanwhile, his hapless employees turn to juvenile antics to propel themselves through the doldrums of wage slavery in Sydney. But, when the grand opening of rival pie-peddler Phat Pizza threatens to run Gigliotti’s already dysfunctional restaurant into the ground, the desperate chef must struggle to prove he’s the ‘big cheese.’
‘I hated Neighbours, because where is this, Summer Bay?’ said Paul Fenech. ‘I’ve been around Australia. I don’t see any Summer Bays. I wanted to make a movie that actually looks like the Australia that I see.’
Evidently still beloved, as seen with the success of multiple sequels and the 2019-20 reboot of the TV show, Pizza: Back in Business, Fat Pizza was one of the first big-screen Australian comedies to give representation to ethnic minorities, such as Maltese, Lebanese and Vietnamese communities, that were previously absent from our screens, winning the enduring love of an audience that grew up with Pauly, Habib, Bobo, Sleek The Elite and a pizza shop full of misfits and reprobates.
Fat Pizza also boasts an impressive cast of Australian comedic stars and local icons, including Ahn Do, George Kapiniaris, Angry Anderson, Merv Hughes, Jeff Fenech, Tim Ferguson, the late Annalise Braakensiek and now Hollywood star Rebel Wilson in her screen debut.
The 20th Anniversary Screenings of Fat Pizza will happen on Friday 3 November at the Chauvel in Sydney, and Saturday 4 November at The Astor in Melbourne. Both sessions start at 7pm, with doors opening half an hour prior for photo & singing opportunities.