RELEASE DATE: 04/10/2012
RUN TIME: 1HR 56MIN
This highly autobiographical film comes from the mind of ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ writer/director P.J. Hogan. He too had a “Shaz” after his own mother’s breakdown, as well as being in the company of a schizophrenic sister and a bipolar brother. He’s also the father of two sons with autism. As a man who lives on the border of mental illness as a close witness yet not himself a sufferer, he seems lost in his place, and the film reflects that. The film suffers by not knowing where, when or even whether or not we’re allowed to laugh at the inflicted and their inflictions. Hogan has said it has taken him these 20 years to complete the right story for these cast of characters - but perhaps he needed a little more time as the films sharp, unexpected turn at its midpoint leaves the story fractured, erratic and lost; as a result, the film is not the powerhouse it could have been.
The film does boast the most spectacular performances, led by Toni Collette.
A few crass and unnecessary moments in the film including a mass “female emergency”, the overuse of “the C-word” and a gaseous bodily function serve no purpose and only weaken the film and again deter from its most serious subject matter.
Story problems aside, the film does boast the most spectacular performances, led by Toni Collette and supported by the five fantastic girls, Anthony LaPaglia, Rebecca Gibney and the ever-impressive Liev Schreiber, who accomplishes what many have tried and many have failed - a genuinely good Australian accent. It is also Schreiber who unexpectedly steals the show as traveling shark expert Trevor Blundell.
While this isn’t quite Hogan’s return to form, it's still the long-awaited reunion between the ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ director and its star. The perfect combination of Australian A-listers and newcomer cast members are worth their weight in gold and truly something to be seen.