Mad and down­right sad

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

HAV­ING paid $ 18 to see Men­tal last week, all I can say is: I want my $ 100 back.

Sadly, no amount of added com­pen­sa­tion will come close to ever killing the bit­ter af­ter- tang of this true cin­e­matic le­mon.

To re­lay to you just how off its game Men­tal can get, let’s take a look at what goes on in the clos­ing min­utes of the pic­ture.

The cam­era pulls back to re­veal Ms Toni Col­lette with her pants in the descen­dant, and her ex­posed pos­te­rior in the as­cen­dant.

Sub­se­quently, the pres­ence of a naked flame in the room is noted. An in­flam­ma­tory im­ple­ment is then placed in close prox­im­ity to the Col­lette bot­tom, just as a high quan­tity of nat­u­ral gas is re­leased in the same area.

The res­i­dence as a whole catches alight, forc­ing Col­lette to re­treat to the na­ture strip out­side, where she kicks over some rub­bish bins in tri­umph. The end.

A fit­ting con­clu­sion to a movie that has not only got up the nose of view­ers at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity but has been com­plete garbage to boot. So who is re­spon­si­ble for this de­ba­cle? None other than writer- di­rec­tor MEN­TAL ★ ■

P. J. Ho­gan ( Toni Col­lette, Re­becca Gib­ney, An­thony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber, Deb­o­rah Mail­man P. J. Ho­gan, for­merly fa­mous for cre­at­ing one of the all- time great Aus­tralian movies in Muriel’s Wed­ding.

He’ll soon be in­fa­mous for un­leash­ing one of the all- time grat­ing Aus­tralian movies in Men­tal.

The in­ten­tion here, and it could very well have started out on honourable grounds, is to draw at­ten­tion to the is­sue of men­tal ill­ness among reg­u­lar folk.

Col­lette plays Shaz, a shrill, chaos­bait­ing fairy god­mother who rushes to the aid of four young sis­ters when their own mother ( Re­becca Gib­ney) is bun­dled off to a psy­chi­atric fa­cil­ity.

While ab­sen­tee dad ( An­thony LaPaglia)


con­cen­trates on win­ning the next may­oral elec­tion, the girls tag along with Shaz as she sets about cut­ting down the tallest pop­pies in their stuck- up neigh­bour­hood.

The crux of Men­tal ’ s irk­some in­abil­ity to en­ter­tain is that a ma­jor­ity of its com­edy scenes res­o­lutely fail in their goal to change per­cep­tions of psy­chi­atric ill­ness.

The sheer un­fun­ni­ness of cer­tain ma­te­rial de­sen­si­tises in­stead of des­tig­ma­tises.

One flam­boy­antly mis­judged scene in Men­tal sums up a flam­boy­antly mis­judged mo­tion pic­ture as a whole.

Shaz and her ec­cen­tric en­tourage en­ter the pris­tine lounge room of a snobby neigh­bour. Shaz un­sub­tly flags the pos­si­bil­ity that the men­strual flows of all vis­i­tors may be in strict align­ment. Where­upon the all- white fur­ni­ture within the room is re­dec­o­rated to spec­tac­u­larly non- comic ef­fect. That’s enough from me about Men­tal. I can’t find a match or a cig­a­rette lighter any­where. So I’m go­ing out­side to kick over some bins.

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