A fortnight or so ago, I was invited to a real actual red–carpet movie premiere. With free popcorn and introduction speeches from the director and famous people and everything. It was one of those cases of “I’m almost sure these people don’t know who I am, but I’m taking full advantage of that and going anyway”. (Just to disclaimerise– this was before I took my stance against Pointless Corporate Whoring. And I would have gone anyway. C’mon, jellybeans… it’s a move premiere. With a ’feel good’ dress code. That sounds like fun, yes?)
Anyway. Despite rude and surly cinema staff, it was fun. My mate Kristabelle was my date for the evening. We dressed up. There were goodie bags. And we sat next to famous–type–people, like a movie critic and some Olympic swimmer. We saw Magda in the flesh and she was just as cool as you’d think.
It’s just a pity that the movie sucked so very, very hard.
I wanted to like this movie, I really did. I was prepared to like it, cheering it on. The story of a stay at home mum of two who starts web casting to break the monotony and ease the boredom, and ends up being ’discovered’ and running away to the big city and having to decide between fame and Ronan Keating as her husband doing the washing up in nothing but a pink apron– what’s not to like, really?
It started well– soaring cinematography over green hills, a fresh–faced actress named Laura Michelle Kelly in drab olive clothes, spinning headily in a glorious Sound of Music parody. Which was interrupted by a shot of her twin toddlers eating cow-poo. I know, it should have been hysterical. Unfortunately, at the same time, I think most of the crowd realized that Laura Michelle Kelly– let’s just call her LMK– couldn’t actually act. At all.
To give her props where they’re due, when LMK was singing, dancing, performing the musical numbers (did I mention this was a musical? No? Well. There you go), it was impossible to take your eyes off her. In song, LMK was awesome.
But again, acting probably isn’t her strong point.
Surprisingly, Ronan Keating could act; and did a rather good job with a slightly ridiculous role as a whale researcher who helicopters himself out to Antarctica on an annoyingly regular basis, leaving his wife and kids stuck in rural Tasmania while he listens to the songs of humpbacks. (Yes, really).
Magda, as we already know, can also really actually act. It’s just that the script was so cheesy and so unintentionally sexist it came close to being downright offensive.
On one hand you have LMK, main character, singing her heart out at every opportunity. All the other women in the movie (including a cute, pregnant Pia Miranda and a funny–as–herself Corrinne Grant) hate her. But every single guy she meets– from seventeen year old nerd to tanned, corny pony-tailed busker– fall instantly in love with her. In fact, the pony–tailed, singing busker LMK meets in Sydney seemed to serve no plot purpose whatsoever. Except possibly to perform a song that demonstrated perfectly how not transfer that stage musical feeling to the big screen.
On the other end of the scale, Magda’s character was the ’corporate bitch’, a woman who left her husband in order to shatter the glass ceiling and holds LMK’s devotion to her family and her husband in disdain. Or so we are led to believe. But, evidently, Magda can’t be entirely happy about that decision. Because every time something goes wrong with her somewhat lame evil plan, we see her locked in a bathroom stall eating cookies from her handbag.
Why? I don’t know. No reason was given, nor even alluded to. Maybe it was just because its clearly impossible to have a larger woman on screen without alluding, in some way, to her eating habits.
For pity’s sake.
That was compounded by Magda’s declaration, in the movie’s final scenes, that her husband had, in fact, left her because she couldn’t have children. And that was why she pursued her career as viciously as she did and, apparently, was why she was such a cold hard bitch. She also declared that she was ’Fabulous!’… but not in any way that suggested she really thought she was.
Because, of course, her character couldn’t possibly have been a woman who chose to remain childless, chose not to get married. She couldn’t have genuinely been so passionate about her career that she was happy with the decisions she had made. She couldn’t have even been a lesbian. Not in this movie. Not in a movie where the lead character makes the decision to abandon her career completely, and return to an existence she finds unfulfilling, so that her husband will come back to her and her children won’t be scarred for life. Oh, and, bonus!– the formerly bitchy clique of local women seemingly embrace her. Enough to don multi– coloured rubber gloves and participate in a sing–along. Because, of course, she is one of them now.
By this stage, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d cut to a shot of Magda, alone and crying, surrounded by empty biscuit packets and chocolate wrappers. They didn’t. They did provide an unintentionally hilarious comic ending. Which wasn’t helped at all by the fact that it was filmed in an area very close to TinyTrainTown (where I live), and all Kristabelle and I could say was “Holy crap!! That’s Corbett’s Hardware!!”
Anyway. After a long winded duet with lots of cheesy footage of Ronan Keating standing, boy-band style, on the deck of a whale research ship with badly green-screened footage of the Antarctic rolling blandly behind him; he somehow commandeers a helicopter which he has to set down in the grassy courtyard of a small ‘Tasmanian’ town. It’s playing humpback whale songs from speakers. (Again… really). Ronan, with real actual tears in his eyes, proceeds to compare himself to a humpback whale and declare his love to LMK using some strange synonym that I’m not entirely sure I understood (possibly because Kristabelle and I were laughing so hard by this point that we had actual real tears in our own eyes).
Cue musical number, and they all (except, presumably, Magda) live happily ever after.
And this is what’s wrong with the Aussie film industry. For every awesome movie by the Edgerton brothers… there’s also a Goddess.