Published Sep 23, 2010Already a hit in its native Australia, Bran Nue Day is too provincial to make much of a dent on this side of the world, tackling local social injustices with cultural inside jokes and a sunny, but sloppy, disposition more endearing to those that can appreciate the locales and homegrown effort. This is to us what Score: A Hockey Musical would be to the Southern Hemisphere, only with a little more charm and competency.
Taking place in 1969, and predictable from the get go, this road trip movie finds the dorky, but morally affable, Willie (Rocky McKenzie) running away from a Perth-based Catholic boarding school when the wrathful, hypocritical methods of German priest Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush) leave him seeking enlightenment outside of the traditional European fold.
Upon flipping the metaphorical bird to the caricatured man of the cloth, he sings, "There's nothing I would rather be/than to be an Aborigine/and watch you take my precious land away/for nothing gives me greater joy/than to watch you fill each girl and boy/with superficial existential shit."
The ensuing road trip with an alcoholic homeless man, an idealistic hippie and a German hippie wannabe generates the most laughs, with sausage thievery and condom tree shenanigans adding a bit of sauciness to a primarily cornball movie.
Some of the songs are decent, having generally catchy choruses and standard instrumental arrangements, but the mixture of country, folk, show tune and pop never finds a sense of cohesion. Similarly, the awkward transitions into song and sluggish choreography do little to enliven a generic, flimsy plot.
While the idea of an optimistic, freewheeling Aboriginal musical certainly holds some appeal, the reality is far less dynamic, especially when the main character laughably professes his love for a girl whom he's shared only a single scene and line of dialogue with. (Alliance)