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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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SAVE YOUR LEGS!

SYNOPSIS:
In a bid to wind back the clock and cling to his childhood dream, Teddy (Stephen Curry) leads his two best mates (Damon Gameau, Brendan Cowell) and their D-Grade cricket team on an audacious tour of India, losing matches but winning friends along the way.

Review by Louise Keller:
Cricket, enlightenment and embracing change are the themes for this slight Aussie comedy that is amiable enough with its bunch of rowdy, likeable characters, but just like what happens on the pitch, nothing really fires. It's the debut feature for Boyd Hicklin, whose 2005 documentary of the same name reveals the story's genesis, about an Aussie cricket team competing with cricket-crazy Indians on their home turf. With a script by the talented, charismatic Brendan Cowell, and an excellent and enthusiastic cast besides, it is a shame that this rather good concept does not have stronger legs.

Stephen Curry plays the protagonist Teddy, for whom cricket means everything and is more than a game. As the president of the Melbourne Abbotsford Anglers, the shine diminishes from his world as 'ladies and life' seem to get in the way of cricket. It would help if Teddy were a more likeable character and while Curry plays the cricket nerd to perfection, there does not seem enough to hang onto as he goes through his journey of discovery. Cowell, as Rick, the new dad-to-be, is always a good screen presence, and Damon Gameau as Stavros is terrific.

The set up feels incomplete: we do not readily believe that Sanjeet (Darshan Jariwala) as the team's sponsor, is paying for the team to fly to India and compete. The jokes are centred on Indian food, tummy bugs and toilet paper which quickly run dry (the jokes that is), while Rick's penchant to over indulge and try every form of dope in drink, joint and bong form is rather dull.

Everything hangs off the culture clash idea, when the ultimate words of wisdom are uttered by an elderly Indian sitting in yoga position and draped in yellow robes on the banks of the Ganges. 'This is India; we are all brothers,' he says. The notion of the helter-skelter cricket eleven to be taken all the way to the country where cricket is the most popular spot, when their skills and disciplines are clearly not up to scratch, is shaky to begin with.

The idea to incorporate a Bollywood theme into the mix is fine but wasted and Pallavi Sharda as Anjali is more decorative than integral to the plot as the sponsor's daughter. Pairing her with Teddy is unbelievable and is yet another reminder of the plot's contrivances. I wanted to like this film more and while there are a few laughs and while it will appeal to an undemanding audience, it could be so much more.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This likeable telemovie-sized comedy about men reluctantly facing up to the need for maturity - in their 30s - is told through a story about a suburban cricket team. It's a comedy that relies on its semi-serious premise, written by the actor Brendan Cowell who also stars, and it helps if you are a cricket tragic. The audience at its premiere as the closing night film of CinefestOZ 2012 in Margaret River, WA, lapped it up.

The scenes set in India have a wonderful authenticity, and the old cricket rivalry between the two countries is dusted off to good effect. The contrast in cultures and the contrast in locations - along with the immature behaviour of the Aussie lads, gives the film plenty of atmos for pub screenings and the like.

The bitter sweet nature of the men reluctant to grow up - or at least grow out of childish dreams - adds a texture to the comedy, but because what's at stake is not a large scale issue for the audience, the film's emotional temperature remains low - unless you quickly identify with the cricket team which has more hope than ability.

Technically well made in a naturalistic style, the film could well become a cult favourite among small club cricket players with grandiose ideas.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

SAVE YOUR LEGS! (M)
(Aust, 2012)

CAST: Stephen Curry, Brendan Cowell, Damon Gameau, Pallavi Sharda, David Lyons, Darshan Jariwala, Eddie Baroo, Ryan O'Kane, Srikanth, Daren Gilshenan, Pradeep Kabra, Suhail Khan, Shibani Dandekar, Nick Batzias, Gerard Whateley

PRODUCER: Nick Batzias, Robyn Kershaw

DIRECTOR: Boyd Hicklin

SCRIPT: Brendan Cowell

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mark Wareham

EDITOR: Leanne Cole

MUSIC: Cornel Wilczek

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paddy Reardon

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 28, 2013







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