A frank portrayal of a year in the life of a divorced mother living in Melbourne, trying to cope with her daughter and her own relationship with a drug addict while trying to get into the music business.
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Writer/director Jackie McKimmie's film is a mix of Australian grotesque and diary of a mad housewife.
Dorothy Stubbs (Noni Hazelhurst) is the downtrodden wife of Avon Heights butcher Geoff (Graham Blundell), who turns 35 on the month the street has their monthly party, held this time at the Stubbs house. The party's theme is Come as Your Favourite Fantasy, which includes cross-dressing, and the party includes uninvited guests, a film crew, a fire, practical jokes, sex, urination gags, vomiting, a woman giving birth, and a brass band. Although it is meant to showcase the hospitality of the Stubbs, particularly important as Geoff is running for leader of the Prosperity Party, it reveals the opposite in Geoff's intolerant traditionalism and Dorothy's rebellion. Dorothy's reaction against Geoff is set off by the appearance of Todd (John Jarratt), who appears as a stripper at the sex toy party that Dorothy attended at the film's opening. Dorothy had tried to escape the doldrums of being a housewife and mother by doing a creative writing course, and after being criticised for her `kitchen-sink social realism', she begins to narrate erotic fantasies co-starring Todd.
The length of the party is evidence of McKimmie's free-for-all narrative, though her grotesquery is already evident before the party with Dorothy's coughing chain-smoking tutor, the Stubb's water bed, Marilyn Monroe look-alikes, butcher double entendres, extreme close-ups, expressionist framing, a banana telephone, broad comedy, and noise.
McKimmie has Dorothy point out that faux 1950's suburbia, where we see identically dressed men mowing their front lawns in unison, is like a time warp. McKimmie has the wit to undercut Todd by making him a housethief and not the stud that Dorothy's fiction imagines, and any sympathy we may feel for the cuckolded Geoff is certainly banished by his calling Dorothy an unfit mother and tells her she needs to see a psychiatrist. Strangely, the police appear to convey complaints from neighbours about noise when all the neighbours are said to be at the party. McKimmie gets a laugh from Dororthy's existential question to Geoff `Do you ever feel something is missing?' with his reply `Yes, we need a new globe in the bathroom', and the image of Dorothy trampling the rising hand from Geoff's burial in a fantasy, which then cuts to Geoff faking his death in a spa. There is a cut from fantasy Geoff crying over Dorothy to him singing Happy Birthday to her in real time, Mormons coming to the door when Dorothy acquiesces to sex with Geoff in the kitchen, soap suds turning into sea spray, and even one of Dorothy's fantasy sex scenes with Todd turning into real time sex with Geoff.
Blundell's casting is a turn-around from his Alvin Purple days, and though Hazelhurst's dramatic ability is mostly untapped, she does get to use her funny self-conscious smile.
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