Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Castle (1997)

Seen: On our projector set-up, streamed from netflix instant.

The other night my boyfriend was in one of those moods where he wanted to watch something, but had no idea what, and everything we found in our to-watch pile or on netflix instant just didn't fit. Luckily he'd been recommended The Castle and it seemed like a light enough pick. The story centers on the Kerrigan family, a lovable bunch who live in a cheap but highly personalized house adjacent to the Melbourne airport, where patriarch Darryl (Michael Caton) takes pride in home-improvement projects and matriarch Sal (Anne Tenney)takes pleasure in amateur arts and crafts. Their children are grown but their two younger sons still live when them; their only daughter has recently married and their eldest son is in prison but set to be released in a few years. They don't have a ton of money but they get along well enough, and take genuine pleasure in each other's company. What a great family! When the airport wants to expand onto their land, Darryl takes it upon himself to defend their home in court.

I don't have too much to say about this one, except that it's very sweet and funny in a sort of simple way. I loved this adorable, loving family who are goofy and somewhat exaggerated but still relatable and likable. The humor is silly and at times a little dumb, relying on repetitive gags and dopey narration from Stephen Curry, playing the youngest son. The story itself is light but the script is engaging, and everything moves along at a decent pace to nicely fill out 85 minutes of screen time. The film as a whole is a good blend of quirky comedy and heartwarming family portrait, without dwelling on sappy commentary. There's even a bit of courtroom drama thrown in, and everyone wears hilarious wigs. Also, a weird thing that I didn't expect: This is Eric Bana's film debut (after he was known mainly for tv sketch comedy), and since I've only seen him in more recent films it's weird to see him all baby-faced.

3.5/5

Pair This Movie With: Ummm I don't know, really. I haven't seen too many Australian comedies, though I'm a big fan of Danny Deckchair.

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