The Shrimp on the Barbie

The Shrimp on the Barbie, released in Australia as The Boyfriend from Hell, is a 1990 comedy film directed by Michael Gottlieb (under the pseudonym Alan Smithee) and starring Cheech Marin. The title is derived from a line in a 1980s series of popular ads starring Paul Hogan promoting tourism to Australia: "I'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you".

The Shrimp on the Barbie
DVD cover
Directed byMichael Gottlieb (as Alan Smithee)
Produced byR. Ben Efraim
Written byGrant Morris
Ron House
Alan Shearman
StarringCheech Marin
Emma Samms
Vernon Wells
Bruce Spence
Carole Davis
Music byPeter D. Kaye
CinematographyJames Bartle
Edited byFred A. Chulack
Distributed byUnity Pictures
Release date
August 31, 1990
Running time
87 minutes
CountryNew Zealand
United States
Box office$458,996 (USA)


Australian heiress Alexandra Hobart's (Emma Samms) father has disapproved of every boyfriend she has brought home to meet him, including her burly, life-of-the-party fiancé, Bruce (Vernon Wells). After a disastrous birthday party, Alexandra decides to challenge her father (Terence Cooper) with the worst boyfriend she can find. She hires a down-on-his luck waiter from a Mexican restaurant in Sydney, Australia named Carlos (Cheech Marin) to masquerade as her new boyfriend to persuade her father into allowing her to marry Bruce. Needing the money to save the failing restaurant, Carlos agrees to the ruse; acting loud, belligerent and obnoxious, shocking everyone in the Hobart household and their high-society friends at a party with his crude behavior, warranting unwanted attention from Alex's eccentric cousin, Maggie (Jeanette Cronin) in the process.

After a while however Alex discovers that in spite of his rather crass and unrefined ways Carlos is actually a very caring and sensitive person and she even finds herself falling for him. Alex's father, however, doesn't buy the act, and hires a detective to photograph Bruce and Alex's best friend, Dominique (Carole Davis) in a compromising position. Carlos gets wind of the infidelity and attempting to save Alexandra from being hurt ends up assaulted by Bruce. Alex outs Bruce and Dominique at a party before racing to the airport to mend fences with Carlos. Hoping she's not too late, Alex has the plane called back to the airport by her father. Realizing how noble Carlos is, Mr Hobart invests in Carlos' restaurant thereby saving it from closing.

Principal Cast

  • Cheech Marin ... Carlos Munoz
  • Emma Samms ... Alexandra "Alex" Hobart
  • Vernon Wells ... Bruce Woodley, Alex's boyfriend and fiancĂ©
  • Bruce Spence ... Wayne, owner of the Manana Restaurant
  • Carole Davis ... Dominique, Alex's best friend
  • Terence Cooper ... Sir Ian Hobart, Alex's father
  • Jeanette Cronin ... Maggie Ridley, Alex's cousin
  • Gary McCormick ... Gary Williams, restaurant critic
  • Frank Whitten ... Blue
  • June Bishop ... Lady Irene Hobart, Alex's mother
  • David Argue ... Kevin, Carlos's house mate
  • Bruce Allpress ... Mr. Ridley, Maggie's father
  • Val Lamond ... Mrs. Ridley
  • Richard Hanna ... Nigel, Alex's tennis partner
  • Noel Appleby ... Slim, Manana chef
  • Eric Liddy ... Eddison, the Hobart's butler
  • Kim Buchanan ... Eve Tracey
  • Joel Tobeck ... Lance, bar patron

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