Category Archives: Aust and NZ rom coms

Australian and New Zealand romantic comedy films starting from the year 2000

Not Suitable for Children

MV5BODA2MDM0NzI0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjUyMTkxOA@@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook, Ryan Corr, Bojana Novakovic

Set in Australia, three young housemates, Jonah, Gus and Stevie, are very busy partying hard. Until, that is, Jonah is told he has testicular cancer. His sperm can’t be stored, so Jonah becomes obsessed with fathering a biological child before his operation to remove his testicle.

Jonah contacts old girlfriends but no-one is interested. Stevie tries to set him up in ‘alternative arrangements’ but they don’t work out either. Stevie (played by Sarah Snook) may be his only chance.

This is a refreshingly honest and real film, without the use of crude and juvenile humour.  Sarah Snook looks just like Emma Stone, and her acting is just as good. I really enjoyed this flick and highly recommend it.

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How to Meet Girls from a Distance

MV5BMjAxODQ4Mzk1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTU2MzQyOA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Scarlet Hemingway, Richard Falkner, Jonathan Brugh, Aidee Walker, Aroha White

Toby is quite shy and once had a very bad experience when he tried to ask a woman out. Since then, he’s not been able to get back into the dating game. He seeks advice from an eccentric ‘dating coach’ called Carl, who, in the beginning, proves useless.

When he sees a woman he wants to ask out, Toby starts to conduct high level surveillance on her. Eventually he goes too far. He prepares a carefully orchestrated seduction and he is successful, until Phoebe finds out that he is very close to being a psychopath and flees. Toby, in the end, tries to fix things with Phoebe, oddly with help from Carl.

New Zealand rom coms have a certain style that seem to make them very endearing and quite different from Hollywood rom coms (see Eagle vs Shark and Love Birds) and this film is no exception. For one, the music is great, and the female characters are real and engaging.

Although the script can seem a bit creepy in parts, it flows at a good pace, and offers a lot of humour. This is a great film, I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

Any Questions for Ben?

Josh Lawson, Tom Gleisner, Rachael Taylor

The story is set around Ben, a high-flying, young marketing executive. Even though his parents can’t understand what he does for a living (he’s a brand manager), he does do it well – earning big bucks, going to fancy parties, dating international tennis stars and models, and keeping his life simple and fun. When Ben meets an old school friend, he’s taken not only by her beauty, but by the meaningful way she’s living her life. He begins to question his own shallowness. But will he make the changes he needs to make in order to date Alex?

This is an Australian rom com and I’m pleased to report, without the overt stereotypes that I hated in A Few Best Men. I like the fast, sharp editing at the beginning of the film – I thought this was going to be a ‘cut above’ movie. But it isn’t really. The dialogue is lively, but without much comic relief.

I did kind of like this movie, particularly because it was filmed in Melbourne. The message here is that little boys have to grow up sometime if they want what the big boys have. It isn’t overly clever, but watchable nonetheless.

A Few Best Men

Laura Brent, Rebel Wilson, Olivia Newton-John, Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop, Tim Draxl

English backpacker, David, falls in love with Australian Mia on an island during a holiday. He proposes after only ten days! They decide to get married in Australia. David goes back to England to gather together his 3 best friends and get to Australia for the wedding.

Things go wrong the minute they arrive, due to the behaviour of his best men. Things continue to go wrong throughout the wedding (getting wasted, stealing a prize sheep, being chased by a psycho drug dealer) and David has to try and pull everything together to save his newly married status.

I hated this movie from the start. Why so many stereotypes just because it’s set in Australia? Of course, a sheep, all Australians have sheep in the house! And the absurdly powerful, over-protective and overly dominant father-in-law – what a cliche! The mother-in-law was played by Olivia Newton-John. She got quite good reviews for her part which I just can’t understand as I think she is appalling in this film. Her lines are stiff and largely absurd.

When some-one gets married in a romantic comedy film there is often: a scarey father figure; an elegant but drunk mother; a homosexual sibling; or a sibling who breaks the mould. Bingo – they are all here, all cliches filled!

Now saying that…the film did get quite a few laughs out of me. This was largely due to Kris Marshall who I find very funny and likeable, and Rebel Wilson, who’s a great actor. But don’t get me wrong, I laughed, but wouldn’t watch it again.

Love Birds

Sally Hawkins, Rhys Darby

Set in New Zealand, this is a lovely little rom com.  Doug is unexpectedly dumped by his girlfriend Susan. He then finds an injured duck who has also lost its mate. He reluctantly takes care of the duck which leads him to meet Holly, the local bird expect at the zoo.  After an awkward start they begin a relationship. The duck also becomes a very important part of his life. When Susan wants him back, he has to chose between them. It doesn’t sound like there’s much to it, and there isn’t. It’s a simple story line but it’s actually very well made and quite charming.

 

Surviving Georgia

Pia Miranda, Holly Valance, Spencer McLaren, Caroline O’Connor, Shane Jacobson

Heidi and Rose (Miranda and Valance) are sisters who are begrudgingly reunited with their estranged mother who abandoned them 12 years ago. The journey towards reconciliation involves all of them looking into themselves and figuring out how to forgive, and how to move forward. During the journey, both sisters and their mother negotiate through and around their romantic relationships.

Yes, it is light-hearted, but it isn’t light-weight. Both Miranda and Valance are delightful to watch and the story moves effortlessly along a clear plot line, allowing us to leave the cinema feeling good.  I think the film would have even been better on the second time round, although I didn’t get this opportunity. Fantastic effort at making a beautiful, light-hearted Australian romantic comedy.

Eagle vs Shark

Loren Horsley, Jemaine Clement

Jemaine plays Jarrod – a complete and utter loser. He meets Lily who is possibly the nicest person on the planet, aside from her big brother Damon. Jarrod is on a mission to take revenge on his high school nemesis.  He and Lily travel back to his home town so he can fight the guy who bullied him in front of his family and friends.

Lily doesn’t quite fit the ‘normal mould’ and people tend to treat her quite badly – she’s a little unusual, quite naive. But without saying very much she manages to have a profound affect on Jarrod and his broken family. She doesn’t mind that Jarrod is a loser, she seems to know that underneath all the bullshit he’s a nice guy too. And she’s on a mission herself – to find love.

This movie isn’t like the US rom coms, for starters it’s a New Zealand production.  Jemaine is the guy from Flight of the Concords so the comedy is subtle and clever. See him again in Dinner for Schmucks in a vastly different role.

This is such a lovely movie. Lily gets her romance in the end and deserves it, and all is good in the world of romantic comedies.

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