Gettin' Square (2003) Poster

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You don't know how lucky you are...
isabelle195525 November 2005
I bought this DVD second hand from Amazon when I realized that the DVD drive on my PC is slightly more promiscuous than the one on my TV, and can be teased into playing Region 4 DVDs, because for some reason I can't quite fathom, this movie isn't available in the Region 1 format of my adopted home (California.) I don't know if it ever got a cinema release here, but it's certainly not available on DVD or video. Possibly they thought it might need subtitles? But I'm glad I tracked it down because it definitely brightened up my week!

This is basically a classic Cockney Crime Caper, fairly old fashioned in concept but beautifully scripted and acted, and exported to Australia. Instead of the dull streets of east or south London, we are treated to the eye candy of Surfer's Paradise (and I freely admit I have no idea whether that's a real place or not) where the azure skies, blonde beaches and palm trees suggest a luxuriant, idyllic, sybaritic lifestyle. Which is a nice twist given the reality of the story-line of down on their luck ex-cons of varying intelligence levels, trying to escape their dodgy pasts. Other reviewers have outlined the story, so I won't repeat it here. It's a little clichéd in places (cute ex-con redeemed by love of a good woman, new found sense of responsibility for baby brother and amazing ability to cook lean cuisine, a skill he apparently picked up while chopping carrots in jail. I mean really?) but Getting' Square's heart's in the right place and it's entertaining and funny, and boasts a wonderful cast, including Sam Worthington, Timothy Spall, Freya Stafford and David Wenham.

David Wenham steals the show completely as Spit, the touchingly hopeless druggie. He is quite possibly the only actor around capable of making a drug addict appealing (cold sore and all) and as many others have said, the court scene is a classic, and the screwdriver and ski-mask robbery of the gas station totally cracked me up. Also not to be missed, the sight of Spit hot footing it down the street in ill-fitting briefs and flip flops. If only the junkies I've met were in such good shape! This is exactly the kind of entertaining, blackly comic movie which is not seen here in the USA, and which makes me nostalgic for British and Australian humour, which I think are pretty similar. I'm quite surprised to read some of the criticisms of this movie on IMDb. Given the standard of so much of the Hollywood dross that dominates cinema screens everywhere, you Aussies should be really glad you still have easy access to something as good as this!

Addendum: since writing this a friend has come back from Australia and informed me that Surfer's Paradise is not only a real place, but just like the movie. Perfect!
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10/10
Gettin' Square hits its mark
strangie5 October 2003
This is the second feature from director Jonathan Teplitzky (Better Than Sex) and his spunky, slightly off-beat direction doesn't disappoint.

Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington) has just been paroled and wants to get square (go straight) but finds that his shady ex-acquaintances and past are harder to lose than he thought. Barry and his mate Johnny "Spit" Spitieri (David Wenham) and new employer Darren Barrington (Timothy Spall) and find themselves pitted against the high-tech resources of the newly formed Crimes Investigation Commission (CIC) and old enemy Chicka Martin (Gary Sweet) and his cronies.

The cast (and a couple of excellent cameo appearances by Ugly Dave Gray and Gretel Killeen) is virtually flawless and David Wenham is hilarious (his court appearance for the CIC is likely to go down as one of the most hilarious misadventures in court, ever). Slick writing, excellent direction make this a very easy film to watch and thoroughly enjoy!
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7/10
David Wenham needs a shower
lynton11 April 2004
A solid example of an Aussie crime/comedy caper - but more than that, it's a brilliant display by David Wenham, who deserves much applause (and a good shower) for his portrayal of Johnny 'Spit' Spiteri.

Many things come together to make this a great Aussie film. The cinematography is clever and fresh, the script is, and the acting is superb.

Sam Worthington is Barry, recently out of prison, who lands a job as a chef in a struggling restaurant, run by Darren (the wonderful Timothy Spall), an ex-con trying to stay straight. When Darren runs into trouble with a suspect $200,000, and Barry's friend Spit runs afoul of the local gangster (Gary Sweet), they team up for a double-cross - but it's much more complicated than that.

The script is smart and devilish, but while it twists and turns, it never approaches ridiculousness. Written by prominent criminal lawyer Chris Nyst, you wonder who much is fact and how much is fiction - something here seems plausible.

That might be just the superb acting. Worthington is solid and believable, but Wenham utterly steals the show as the hapless, mullet-wearing Spit. One scene where Spit goes before a court hearing is one of the highlights of Aussie cinema of the last decade. It's stunningly scripted, brilliantly acted - and very funny.

'Gettin Square' isn't as good as 'Two Hands' - it's uneven at times, slightly plodding early on, and takes 40 minutes to really get into the script - but it's still well worth the entry price.
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10/10
Favourite movie of all time.
jaredt7724 April 2007
This movie showcases how simple Aussie production teams can make a world class movie with a budget one hundredth of big block buster Hollywood films. Characters are real and easy to relate to and there is no hint of pretentiousness by any actors throughout the film. Although this is an Australian based film this movie can cross international borders with ease , small time crime is universal . I would put this movie in a bracket with films like lock stock and snatch in the sense even though you know these people are breaking the laws they're the underdog you want to see get up . I would probably rate this as my favourite movie and find myself watching it at least once a week . With a cast of mainly relatively unknowns with the exception of people like sam worthington , gary sweet , David wenham and tim spall I feel it is one of the best low budget films released from Australia
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10/10
Intelligent, funny, fast paced with likable characters.
britishvo11 November 2005
Hate to compare it but best described as Australia's 'Lock Stock and 2 smoking Barrels' set in Queensland.

When you are convinced by roles being played you forget they are actors in a movie unlike so many 'Wallyhood' celebs who play limited angles of themselves. All the characters are brilliantly played with David Wenham (as the pitiful John Spiteri) deserving of acclaim as is Timothy Spall (Dabber); a great compliment to the superb Australian cast who's 'ocka' accents and amusing slang build the appeal. It's a punchy, funny, cool film with fast cut directing depicting the humour and anguish of characters and their predicaments succinctly and with style. The sound track is sexy and suitably complimentary.
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10/10
it is the real Gold Coast
fernandezanibal14 January 2007
I work in the area the film is based. I drive past where most of the scenes were filmed daily and also encounter people exactly like those in the film.

If you think the Australianism was put on or too strong, it's only because you don't spend enough time in Surfers Paradise or your from Melbourne or Sydney. The film was even daring enough to have a well known Gold Coast Underworld figure play a "heavy", and the fact is they may even played it down a bit, cause anyone who spends enough time in Surfers has seen him drive around in his Lamoborghini or Ferrari with the plates Shark on there.

The united States has Goodfellas, we have Getting Square
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10/10
Top Aussie caper movie
hexa-217 October 2003
David Wenham steals the show as the spaced out junkie "Spit". His performance in the tribunal scene is one of the greatest comedy scenes I've ever seen in a movie. This performance took it from just another caper movie to a really good movie. Freya Stafford was wasted as the juvenile love interest, she can handle meatier roles than this. Gary Sweet as good as ever and the rest of the cast was world class. Don't miss this one!
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9/10
"Spit" Fire!
elf_arwen20 December 2004
Getting' Square is one of the zaniest movies I've seen all year. What really makes the movie is actor is David Wenham as Johnny "SPIT" Spitieri who plays a very dumb junkie. Some of you may know him as Faramir in Lord Of The Rings. Nobody could have played his junkie role better. I saw this movie at the Honolulu Film Festival and David Wenham was there.

Getting' Square is about three criminals who are trying to set their lives straight. Spitieri is just out of jail and trying to get himself off drugs. Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington) met Spitieri in jail, and he is released towards the start of the movie, and is also trying to clean himself up.

The Australian accents were a bit hard for me to understand at times, but that didn't much matter because the actors did such a great job. The court room scene that David Wenham did was acting at it's best. Nobody else could have played Johnny Spitieri better.
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9/10
A very funny, entertaining movie with a classic comedy performance by David Wenham
rich-69727 April 2006
I've now watched this movie twice and enjoyed it immensely on both viewings. It has an excellent script with great humour and is very hilarious in parts... particularly when David Wenham's character "Johnny Spitieri" is on the screen. David should have won an Oscar along with his AFI, FCCA & IF Best Actor awards for this role. Absolutely excellent! The rest of the cast also give very good performances and are well cast. Timothy Spall is particularly good as the crim who's trying hard to be a legitimate businessman. It's a good tale with enough twists and turns to hold your interest to the very end. Watch it for David's performance if nothing else!
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9/10
A film that adds to those uniquely Australian classics
leighjack17 March 2006
If you don't like the film, I would venture to say that you have missed the point of trying to capture the Oz psyche. This flick did, and I loved it.

From the choice of Nick Cave singing whilst Barry resigns himself to a corrupt flogging, to Spit's thongs (flip flops for out-of-towners) and acid wash jeans, this film is one of those "essence" films. When done well, capturing the essence of Australia, that is rapidly fading into history (and we can all identify or know many of the characters) just makes you laugh.

The treat is how an good tale has been woven around the lead characters, ususally its the opposite. In particular, I am totally amazed how Mr Wenham, like he did in Cosi (my favourite Oz movie), manifests a character so utterly different from the man himself. He truly is the business when it comes to his craft.
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5/10
Its got some classic humour
likebike8511 January 2004
The marketing killed this one because it was a great film with brilliant performances but it seemed like another bad comedy. However it was really entertain and David Wenham was brilliant as Spit. The courtroom scene is classic stuff.the ending is a bit weak and sentimental but still a good film.
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8/10
It's Hip To Be Getting' Square
walking_cliche28 December 2004
'Gettin' Square' is one of my favourite movies of the last few years. It's copped a fair bit of flak from critics, but in my opinion it's one of the best Australian films going around today.

The Australian film industry unfortunately doesn't have the support of local audiences that it deserves, on top of this, Australian humour doesn't seem to be very funny at all to overseas audiences and 'Gettin' Square' will undoubtedly suffer the same fate as superb Aussie films like 'Swimming Upstream'.

In an era of Americanisation in the Aussie film industry (see 'Blurred' and the soon to come 'Deck Dogz') 'Gettin Square' has strong Aussie flavour with biting humour and a smart storyline. David Wenham's performance as 'Spit' was hilarious, as was Timothy Spall's performance as Darren Barrington. While Spall and Wenham provide the humour, Sam Worthington, David Field and Gary Sweet provide the stinging taste of Australia's underworld, rehabilitation system and police corruption.

As a whole, 'Gettin' Square' is an excellent film, superbly directed by Johnathon Teplitzky that mixes comedy, drama and crime/thriller flawlessly.

See this for: David Wenham's Johnny Spit, the Weight Watcher's jokes, the soundtrack, the clever plot, the twist at the end.
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8/10
Laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants, however...
burgovision31 January 2004
Look - this is not a great film. It doesn't take you anywhere you haven't been before, it is pure entertainment and nothing more. There's no intellectual challenge, there's no emotional connection - this is not an important film.

That said, David Wenham's 'Spitz' is just so damn funny!

And that's what this film is for. It's an entertaining couple of hours. It's not the saviour of the Australian film industry but it does have a place. Sometimes we just need to kick back, switch off and have a good laugh.

Gettin' Square is funny, light entertainment. It's just your standard heist flick bordering on The Castle style suburban kitch but it does still stand up on it's own - just. Perhaps because we are strongly suspect that 'Spitz' actually does exist (even if we don't know him)... and please, Sam Worthington is so hot!
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9/10
Australian Comedy meets new highs
daniel-39022 November 2003
it would be sad if such a good film passed through the cinemas without being noticed. Please do yourself and the Australian Film Industry a favour by going out and seeing it. It is a character driven film with a great plot and very clever writing. The first 20 mins do run slow but it is essential to set up the many characters who will push forward the plot. It really is one of the best Australian Films of 2003.
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7/10
Wenham keeps this alive
Shakamaker29 September 2003
There's nothing special about the story; it's a predictable crime/drama about a lad trying to go straight, despite the attentions of the soily company he used to keep.

It's believability stretched in places, the movie is saved by the performance of David Wenham (Faramir, in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy) who plays a lovably tragic junkie crim, with a penchant for finding trouble, but a strong sense of mateship. Wenham steals the show, and is especially hilarious in a particular court room scene.

Predictable, but some good writing, and Wenham's brilliance, make it enjoyable.
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9/10
Brill Movie
beeisme9 November 2005
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It is funny, weird and original and stars some excellent actors such as Timothy Spall and David Wenham (who is hilarious!). One of the great things about is that the heroes are not your typical "goody-goodies". They are very unusual for heroes, as you will discover. Also, the stars are not American, but Australian as far as I can remember (though Timothy Spall, as you probably know, is British) which is a refreshing change from the usual stereotypical 'blonde bimbos' and 'dark hunks' which are found in most Western-made movies. The swearing can get a bit much if you're not used to it but otherwise it's a fantastic movie with an interesting ending.
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6/10
Aussie comedy crime caper
juneebuggy21 October 2016
This was a decent Aussie comedy-crime caper. Granted it takes a bit to get going but is worth watch for a young Sam Worthington and a knock out performance from David Wenham as 'Spit' the lovable, mullet spouting drug addict. Friends in prison, both men are paroled around the same time and determined to put the past behind them and stay straight.

Spit struggles with heroin, noisy flip-flops and a lack of pants while 'Barry' gets a job at the Texas Rose, a restaurant owned by another ex-con trying to go straight as a family man and lose some unwanted pounds -played by the excellent Timothy Spall.

All three men are being targeted by a local crime boss, a shifty accountant and a corrupt detective and get pulled into that one last heist. There's a bit of a love story between Worthington and his parole officer, lots of twists, some good laughs (mostly during the courtroom scene) and a fantastic soundtrack. 10/19/16
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8/10
An Aus comedy classic
eddie_baggins21 September 2015
Released to critical acclaim and audience appreciation in the Australian Spring of 2003, a singular and pitch perfect scene in Railway Man and underseen Australian gem Burning Man director Jonathan Teplitzky crime caper flick, etched Getting' Square into the classic Australian film books and it all revolved around a simple question of who was in fact paying for Johnny Francis Spitieri's bus fare home?

"Well excuse me, I am worried about it! I'm on medication, you know? Gotta pick up me methadone before five, otherwise I don't get nothing 'til the morning. 'Scuse me, your honor, do you know who's paying for my bus fare today?"

Just a mere sampling of David Wenham's character of Spit, an Australian comedy classic creation that these 12 years on still stands up as a high point of Wenham's career and a cinematic peak of flip flop wearing, screw driver wielding petty criminals that only harbor the wish of "getting square", forgoing a life of crime to enjoy the simple things is life and of course reach a point where they no longer have to worry about bus timetables. Spit and his frequent unlucky breaks truly are works of a leopard print jock wearing artist that create a film character for the ages.

Those who have viewed and remembered Getting' Square will understand why this scene has been singled out as a high point of the film and while it seems slightly exaggerating to say a single scene can elevate a movie to classic status in the case of Getting' Square its anything but. To say this is the only reason to watch this Coen Brothers/Guy Ritchie like film would be remiss however as there are many other reasons why Getting' Square is worth your time.

Filled with memorable characters like Timothy Spall's Texas Steak House restaurant owner Darren 'Dabba' Barrington and David Field's nasty cop Arnie DeViers and notable for an early lead entry in now Hollywood player Sam Worthington's career, Getting' Square's Queensland set locations brim with personality thanks to Teplitzky's assured direction and the script by lawyer Chris Nyst, who no doubt drew much inspiration from his real life dealings to create such a hilariously realistic bunch of human beings, I in particular like to believe there is a real life Johnny Spit out there somewhere, keeping the dream alive.

A smartly constructed and energetic bite of Australiana tinged with a sharply strewn crime story that despite having a few to many unnecessary sub plots remains to this day highly enjoyable. Getting' Square is one of those rare Australian comedies and Australian films in general that can be enjoyed by anyone both near and far on the lookout for a film their likely to have passed by in years past.

4 extra loud flip flops out of 5
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9/10
Spit's a hit!
kursart-15 October 2008
This is an excellent Aussie movie that is not as well known as it should be. Like anyone who's seen it, I believe David Wenham stole the show and the role shows what a versatile actor he is. An unforgettable comedy performance. The courtroom scene is just brilliant Aussie comedy and superbly done by Wenham. His appearance complete with an Aussie bogan mullet, tight jeans, flannel shirt & of course the scene-stealing double plugger's is classic,

It never have the potential to be a worldwide success because of the pure Aussie characteristics, language & references. That's what makes it even more likable. Excellent Aussie music too. It's a great ocker portrayal without being over the top & embaressing.

It wasn't as predictable as some people seem to over-emphasise here I believe. Some predictability, yeah sure but totally predictable, no it isn't that bad. Although I quite enjoyed Crackerjack too, watch that for a predictable & somewhat corny ending. It somehow beat Getting' Straight for best comedy movie in the AFI's that year.

Watch this soon if you haven't seen it before!
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9/10
Just an excellent heist comedy - definitely worth the view
intelearts19 August 2008
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the best caper movie from Oz in a while.

Sure the plot may not be 100% original but it has enough twists and turns to make it zip along and a script that is blue enough to turn Granny's hair white, but somehow it all works.

There's a strong balance between believable drama and very good comedy that makes this very easy to watch.

Excellent performances by all involved, great entertainment, the court scene may be one of the best comedy scenes in Australian Film history (seriously) with its' perfectly incomprehensible dialogue, and overall Getting Squared it one to really enjoy and deserves to be seen.

Great Viewing!
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7/10
David Wenham helps Aussie heist flick pay off!
the amorphousmachine9 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
(SOME SPOILERS) Jonathan Teplitzky's follow-up to 'Better Than Sex' (2000) tackles the caper/heist genre in 'Gettin' Square', and for the most part, it's fairly entertaining to watch. One story revolves around Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington), a wrongly convicted ex-criminal who has just been released to look after his younger brother, Joey (Luke Pegler). Barry plans to stay on the straight and narrow (i.e. get square), and is assisted by the sexy parole officer in Annie Flynn (Freya Stafford), but is dogged by dodgy Detective DeViers (David Field), and his old criminal buddy in Chicka Martin (Gary Sweet) who wants to recruit him again. The other story revolves around Darren Barrington (Timothy Spall), a struggling English restaurant owner in the Gold Coast. He, too, is on the straight and narrow after being in the criminal business, but his past catches up with him when the Police start investigating his previous finances.

Then enter Johnny "Spit" Spitieri (David Wenham), a daggy not-so-intelligent flip-flop wearing ex-con, who also wants to "get square", but unfortunately his heroin addiction is holding him back. He ties the two stories together as he is key evidence to Darren's financial woes, and Barry wants to help get onto his feet. Spit gets Barry a job in Darren's restaurant, where he shines with his cooking skills. Unfortunately for Spit, the investigators and the criminal underworld catch up with him and it's up to Barry and Darren to maybe take a risk to help them, and ultimately themselves from the people that dog them- by doing one last job.

All in all, this is an entertaining romp. As others have said, David Wenham is the best thing in the movie, which is weird, cause he was the worst thing in 'Van Helsing' (2004). Wenham's scenes in 'Gettin' Square' are not only the funniest, but his character is just so typically clueless and endearing. I'm sure many Aussies can relate to his sort. Spall is a welcome addition in this movie, and so is Gary Sweet. Worthington conveys the right persona for the distant morally right ex-con, but he has no real comic ability, and his character never seems too cornered, or conveys the sense of urgency that the story implies! Overall, the film is fairly predictable, but I liked its style and a few scenes are quite memorable- especially the courtroom scene with Spit, and the heist itself. Some of the jokes don't work, but others do sufficiently enough. It's has a nicely timed script with decent dialogue, and the editing is smooth! Worth checking out if you liked 'Two Hands' and 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', and thankfully, it does borrow too heavily from those two. It stands on its own as a film about ex-cons trying their best too stay straight, but when push comes to shove…! Anyway, you get the idea! Check out this fun Aussie flick! ***½ out of *****!
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6/10
Gettin' Old
Lupercali14 April 2004
Look, this is a pretty decent film, but isn't the working class comedy-heist thing getting a bit old?.

Additionally, if you're trying to do an Ozzie 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' type film, you could perhaps be a little less obvious than to stick an English actor like Timothy Spall in a leading role, good though he is. The film seems to have some bizarre sort of cultural cringe to English heist movies, and having it set in Surfers Paradise, which is more like California than California, doesn't help ground it.

That being said, even if the writing is nothing special, the acting is uniformly good. It's been said before and will no doubt be said again, but David Wenham is magnificent as 'Spit', the almost impossibly clueless junkie. His courtroom scene might just be the funniest five minutes of Australian cinema in years, and he absolutely steals every scene he's in. Honestly, it's worth watching the thing just for him.

In other respects it's above average, but not by a lot.

A strong 6.0 out of 10.
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9/10
Over-the-top parody of the criminal justice system - Queensland Style
Genevieve_X29 November 2003
Went to see this on a whim, the film we intended to see was booked out. However, I am extremely glad this was the case, as Gettin' Square gave me one of the best laughs I've had in ages! As I am a drug and alcohol worker, the Johnny Spit character really appealed. Whilst he is obviously an extremely exaggerated parody of your 'crim/scammer junkie' type, David Whenham's performance gave us an over-the-top version of many people who I know (although, in defence of people who use drugs, this type of character is certainly in the minority). Sam Worthington's character presented a sense of identification and humility. There is no anti-crime message in this film, indeed the baddies are the police (played with snearing nastiness by David Field) and the slimy crime boss (Gary Sweet). The heroes are low-level criminals trying to 'get straight', but who end up committing an armed robbery and getting away with it. All of the characters in this film are appealing, and you will be rolling around in laughter at Whenham's court room scene. Best crime caper since Two Hands.
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David Wenham's Faramir is unrecognizable in this film.
LynChamas13 October 2003
David Wenham as the nobel Faramir, hero of Gondor, is totally unrecognizable as the greasy-haired, twitching, whining drug addict John "Spit" Spitieri of "Gettin' Square". The film is great - it moves fast, never lets you lose interest and gives you a real emotional connection to the main characters - Barry, Dabba and Spit, all trying desperately to go straight but threatened with derailment by the plans of less-respectable acquaintances from their past. The story is great, the directing tight, the performances - especially Wenham's - top notch. His courtroom scene alone is worth the ticket price for the film.
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10/10
Best Australian comedy for a long time
danw11 October 2003
Gettin' Square had the audience in uproar for the entire length of the movie. The characters may have been steretypical, but the performances were just unbelievably well done. I think what the audience appreciated most was how well timed and accurately represented the Ozzie humor was. Some movies (like 'nugget') try to do it, but pretty much fail. Gettin' Square was just superb.

Watch out specifically for the court room scene with Jonnie Spit. I can't recall ever having seen a funnier bit of Australian comedy.
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