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The ol Australia dream, is captured right here, in what you might say, a brilliant or positive mess of a film, a real taste of suburbia. Here in this crescent, named after a marsupial, a funny feature has neighbors all in the same garb, mowing the lawn in unison, a clear or hidden message, lying under this. Dorothy Stubbs (Hazelhurst) is turning 35, her birthday present, just lets is one hell of a start to a film. John Jarratt, way before his pre Mick Taylor killer days, back in his handsomeness, does a wild strip, which is hilarious. Dorothy, a budding writer is unhappily married to her egotistical meat proprietor of a husband (Blundell, who's really good here) though has repeated fantasies of Jarratt, who works a variety of jobs, not everyone legal. Over half the film is set on the night of this neighborhood, dress up party, and really, it's a blast. AD is a very funny movie, about desiring about what we really want, and are not getting it. But what is happiness, anyway? Is it something over rated. Dorothy's unhappiness is all too patent and real, where at times you wanna smash Blundell. It's offbeat, with some awlfully funny moments, involving drunk Mormans, middle aged guys that should keep their shirts on, and one hippie, an Alby Mangels looking type who's still living as one woman says, "In the sixties". We even have a old, cigar coughing lecturer on crutches. For Ocker comedy fans, AD is one to track down. It may warmly surprise you. Nice typewriter song too, where Hazelhurst spends many an hour at it.
Writer/director Jackie McKimmie's film is a mix of Australian grotesque
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a surprisingly good but unknown Australian film. It's hilarious
both intentionally and in other places thanks to the passing of time.
Noni Hazelhurst fantasies are genuinely funny and John Jarratt plays a
great suburban love rat. Graeme Blundell is outstanding and I think his
character "Geoffrey the butcher the housewives love" is probably still
haunting suburban BBQ's and conservative political parties. The
supporting actors are sublimely brilliant, the daughter Tracy and her
friend who mistake Mormons for Mods, the Mormons, smoking pregnant Mary
and man who goes into re-birthing at the party. It's not going to
appeal to everyone as the humour is that strange Australian
macabre/fantasy, but if you can see where this film has influenced
other more well known films.
Well worth a watch.
A normal Aussie couple throw a swingin' party their whole neighbourhood
attends, and havoc ensues. Meanwhile, hubby is trying to impress his
bosses at work enough to give him a promotion, and his ungrateful
missus is having fantasies about a stripper she had a chance encounter
with. What will happen as the evening unfolds?!
Filled with all the bad vibrator, blow-up doll and oral sex gags you could possibly want (or not) to hear, this is an abysmal comedy that is thankfully very rare. Don't bother to track it down, unless your masochistic tendencies get the better of you. Believe me, this is a hell of a lot more painful than cutting yourself with a razor blade.. 0/10
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