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ANY QUESTIONS FOR BEN?

THEATRICAL REVIEW
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By Jess Fenton
5th February 2012

Meet Ben. He’s smart, good looking, successful and a complete commitment-phobe. He hasn’t kept an apartment, job or girlfriend for longer than a year - In fact, six months is pushing it. Just after his 27th birthday, Ben (Josh Lawson, ‘The Librarians’) gets a hard dose of reality; his life is shallow and meaningless. All of this comes to light thanks to some school kids at a career night when Alex (Rachael Taylor, ‘Red Dog’), an old university classmate of Ben’s who's now a UN human rights lawyer based in Yemen, steals the show, verses Ben’s job as a brand redeveloper. Any questions? No? That’s the point.

Press for this film will tell you that Ben spends the next year of his life “soul searching” when in actual fact he does the opposite. He spends the next year of his life doing exactly the same thing as always, the only difference is he complains about his life a lot more and does absolutely nothing to change it. That is, of course, until the last minute reprieve that comes out of nowhere. Well, not quite nowhere, we are talking about a romantic comedy, but you know what I mean. Ben’s character, while very charming and easy on the eyes, is also inauthentic and callow. Who’s going to care about a guy like that? The audience almost pity him, not empathise with him, as he struggles to realise that what he wants and needs in life is actually right in front of him.

ANY QUESTIONS FOR BEN? - TRAILER

The supporting cast of Felicity Ward, Daniel Henshall, Christian Clark, Ed Cavalee and ‘Offspring’ scene stealer Lachy Hulme as Ben’s sports car enthusiast and restaurateur mentor are all solid as ineffective guides through Ben’s “quarter-life-crisis”. The story also showcases the city of Melbourne and its culture beautifully, and is one of the film’s true highlights - although one could almost mistaken it for a giant tourism commercial courtesy of the film's one-too-many musical montages - the movie equivalent to a comedian's “Anyone here from out of town?” Ouch!

‘Ben?’ is directed by Rob Sitch, how's the film's co-writer with Tom Gleisner and Santo Cilauro, the boys behind production company ‘Working Dog‘ who were also responsible for ‘The Castle’, ‘The Panel‘, ‘Thank God You’re Hear’ and ‘Frontline’. ‘Ben?’ marks WD’s first feature since 2000’s ‘The Dish’, and showcases a dramatic change in tone for the team - which might explain the film’s underwhelming grit and laugh out loud humor that we’ve come to know and love from them. However the film has its moments and once again signals a return to form in Australian cinema.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 09/02/2012
CAST: Josh Lawson
Rachael Taylor
Daniel Henshall
Christian Clark
Teressa Liane
DIRECTOR: Rob Sitch
WRITERS: Zlad!
Tom Gleisner
Rob Sitch
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