Flammable Children (Swinging Safari)

A wild and energetically funny dose of Australian nostalgia, this sprawling comedy is wonderfully marshalled by writer-director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). This is a glossy and often wonderfully rude film following three families. The kitsch side of the ’70s is gloriously celebrated, children run amok, adults engage in a little sexual swinging and there is even a rotting beached whale. Featuring a top-notch cast that includes Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue, Radha Mitchell and Julian McMahon.

Bright, kitsch, almost fluorescent, coming of age story about 3 quirky families living in a cul-de-sac in a small seaside town in 1970’s Australia. The movie is an in your face intense ride from start to finish, which is unfortunately to it’s detriment, the jokes come thick and fast attempting to keep the audience interested and laughing but it begins to drag towards the end. It’s about as subtle as a brick with it’s attempts to show the audience that these are terrible parents and the 2 main leads kids are far more adult than any of the actual adults. The entire cast is excellent and well cast in their respective roles but the 2 main child actors playing the leads Atticus Robb as Jeff Marsh and Darcey Wilson as Melly Jones are standout, they are the heart of this movie who’s story is unfortunately completely overshadowed by the everything else going on in the background. The films jokes alternate between offensive and slapstick, the offensive part does begin to grate somewhat and begins to feel a like they are trying too hard to offend. A lot of the jokes land well in spite of their offensiveness but quite a few fall flat, not necessarily because they are in themselves offensive but begin to become boring instead. This movie feels too crowded and all of the stories feel overshadowed by each other and none of them get to feel much more than superficial.

The movie has many laugh out loud moments and is an enjoyable comedy but the final third drags a bit and there isn’t much of a payoff in the end. An entertaining, not for the easily offended comedy that unfortunately feels like it could have been much better.

★★★ (and a half)

Euan Tennant

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