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NOW ADD HONEY

SYNOPSIS: Normal life implodes for a suburban family when their pop-star cousin comes to stay. Caroline Morgan (Robyn Butler) is delighted when her sister Beth (Portia de Rossi) brings her movie star daughter Honey Halloway (Lucy Fry) home from the States for a visit. But when Beth is suddenly sent to rehab, the trouble begins when Honey moves in with Caroline and her family, intruding on everyone's space.

Review by Louise Keller:
There is always plenty of fodder to harvest in dysfunctional family comedies, but this feature debut from Gristmill, the production company founded by director Wayne Hope and his wife screenwriter Robyn Butler fails to make the grade. Hope and Butler's background is television and this material feels as though it would play much more comfortably in that environment - in a sitcom. Played for laughs with questionably judged direction, it's a shame it doesn't hang together better as there are some genuinely good ideas and funny lines.

Totally lacking in vanity, Butler is fearless as she portrays the unglamorous, central character Caroline: wife, mother, sister and aunt, whose every life facet becomes fatally flawed. Catalyst for change is the arrival of her drug-addicted sister Beth (Portia de Rossi) and precocious teenage TV starlet daughter Honey (Lucy Fry) whose presence changes the dynamic, prompting life to unravel. While her character seems totally fake and contrived with no endearing characteristics, De Rossi's performance is entertaining at least, with constant references to her cosmetically enhanced features. (She looks great, by the way.) It's a shame De Rossi's personal life - and her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres - has overshadowed her professional talents.

The intricate web of complicated family relationships is nicely established at the beginning and by the time Honey and Beth descend, the potential is clear for comedy of all sorts. I especially like Hamish Blake (Hamish & Andy) as the fiancˇ of Caroline's younger sister Katie (Lucy Durack), whose weight obsession is a running gag. Robbie Magasiva as the celebrity chef brings a surprise element, while Mick (Angus Sampson) plays a suitably sleazy celebrity snapper.

There are moments when the film feels as though it is going to turn a corner and fly, but it never does. It comes close but it's all a bit silly and contrived, offering nothing that we haven't seen before.

The film had its world premiere at the inaugural Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas in May, co-founded by Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

NOW ADD HONEY (M)
(Aust, 2015)

CAST: Robyn Butler, Lucy Fry, Portia de Rossi, Lucy Durack, Hamish Blake, Erik Thomson, Angus Sampson, Ben Lawson, Robbie Magasiva, Philippa Coulthard, David Field, Sandi Gore

PRODUCER: Louisa Kors

DIRECTOR: Wayne Hope

SCRIPT: Robyn Butler

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Nott

EDITOR: John Scott

MUSIC: Craig Pilkington

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Penny Southgate

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 5, 2015







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