+Director: Marc Gracie, Tim Ferguson Starring: Xavier Samuel, Morgan Griffin, Travis Jeffrey, Melissa Bergland Verdict: Booze, blues and the utes of tyranny
THEY stayed away in droves from the new Australian comedy Spin Out during its opening week at the local box office.
So I thought I’d better happen along and see what all the fuss isn’t about. Kind of wish I hadn’t, because it is always rather chilling to see a homegrown flick of any calibre fold like a cheap card table in front of a paying crowd.
There was one, unavoidably telling statistic in play at the session I attended. Not a single soul saw fit to audibly laugh. Not even once.
(I’m not counting the young lady a few rows away who giggled during a quiet bit of the movie. She was scrolling through Facebook on her phone at the time.)
The opening scenes of Spin Out establish the setting as somewhere upcountry. Bogans and boganettes from all over the countryside have convened for the region’s one big social occasion: the Bachelors & Spinsters Ball. As daytime turns to dusk, everyone pulls up at the shindig in a ute, announcing their arrival with some fairly tame circular burnouts.
Those not in possession of a ute gawp away at the dusty spectacle with a tinny in their paw, and a woo-hoo sound frequently emitting from their mouth-holes. Cinematically speaking, it is as awe-inspiring a vista as an extreme close-up of a brick.
Once the Ball itself begins, it becomes crystal clear the plot for Spin Out won’t be starting this century. There’s a couple of retrograde rural yokels (Xavier Samuel, Travis Jeffrey) too emotionally stunted to admit they have feelings for two local lasses (Morgan Griffin, Melissa Bergland).
Then there’s the trio of lightweight layabouts who lose their long-term girlfriends on the spot by announcing they’ll soon be joining the army.
Throw in a chubby bloke trying to break a can-drinking record, two other blokes trying not to have a gay crush on each other, and much music to change flanelette shirts by, and you’ve got a dire, wit-free movie that has confused celebrating the country way of life with dozily caricaturing it.
Only two lasting thoughts can possibly enter the mind throughout this sad experience. How did this ever get made? And when will it ever end?