Do­ing it for the kids

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - NEALA JOHN­SON Now show­ing State Cinema

SNAP poll: What was the last Aussie ro­man­tic com­edy that made you re­ally, gen­uinely laugh? That made you bar­rack for its cen­tral cou­ple? That hung its hat on a de­cent premise? That was set in a world you recog­nise?

Hold up, change that: What was the last ro­man­tic com­edy pe­riod that did any of those things?

Meet Not Suit­able for Chil­dren. It’s the anti- Heigl, anti- J- Lo, anti- Anis­ton rom­com. It’s not a mil­lion miles from top- shelf Hugh Grant rom- com, but think more About a Boy ur­ban au­then­tic­ity than Not­ting Hill fop­pery.

The con­ceit that brings our hero cou­ple to­gether in Not Suit­able for Chil­dren does not in­volve mis­taken iden­tity, hand­cuffs or 27 brides­maids’ dresses.

It feels fresh even though, at first, it might strike you as odd: Man finds can­cer­ous lump and is told he won’t be able to fa­ther chil­dren – that’s a com­edy?

Yes it is, thanks to the jour­ney it pro­pels 20- some­thing party boy Jonah (Aus­tralia’s True Blood hunk Ryan Kwan­ten) on to.

Jonah is the ul­ti­mate no- care, no-re­spon­si­bil­ity guy. He’s good with the ladies, at least for one night.

But that star­tling di­ag­no­sis jolts him awake – he wants more than the leg­endary par­ties he and house­mate Gus ( Packed to the Rafters’ Ryan Corr) throw in their Sydney ter­race house.

He wants a fu­ture as a fa­ther and if it’s go­ing to hap­pen, it’s got to hap­pen in the next three weeks.

With the match­mak­ing help of third roomie and long- time friend Ste­vie ( Sarah Snook) he tries ev­ery av­enue. Old girl­friends. A les­bian cou­ple. A 40- some­thing ca­reer woman. But there are no tak­ers for his seed. All eyes turn to Ste­vie . . . Will they or won’t they?

The suc­cess of Not Suit­able for Chil­dren is that by the time Jonah and Ste­vie get around to even con­sid­er­ing this last- ditch op­tion, you’ll be cheer­ing them on. And for­mu­laic falls by the way­side as di­rec­tor Peter Tem­ple­man ( a short- film Os­car nom­i­nee in 2007) steers a snappy script by Off­spring cre­ator Michael Lu­cas around cor­ners less- trav­elled. The vibe they cre­ate is youth­ful, but not ex­clu­sion­ary.

The lead trio make an en­dear­ing bunch. Kwan­ten, as Jonah, plays it kind of be­wil­dered – a di­shev­elled man- child forced into grow­ing up, but not do­ing the best job.

Snook ( al­ready win­ning com­par­isons to Emma Stone with her red hair and smarts) is forced to be the sen­si­ble one, but runs with it, hit­ting the right notes of sar­casm and sup­port.

And Corr steals all the big laughs as the good- na­tured Gus, who is too busy plan­ning his next big party to re­ally get what is go­ing on with his two best mates.

Not Suit­able for Chil­dren doesn’t shy away from the awk­ward stuff, pep­per­ing the laughs with doses of re­al­ity.

It’s fun and it’s sin­cere. And that may be an even big­ger mir­a­cle than find­ing a baby­mama from scratch in three weeks.

FRESH AND FUNNY: Ryan Kwan­ten and Sarah Snook.

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