A crazy lit­tle thing called Men­tal . . .

Not ev­ery­one will go crazy for they should, writes but

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

OU don’t have to be crazy to re­lax and reap the re­wards of PJ Ho­gan’s fact-in­spired, mad­cap com­edy drama Men­tal – but it helps.

Like his first un­likely Aussie box­of­fice hit Muriel’s Wed­ding, the locally filmed Men­tal is a naughty but nice subur­ban story based on writer/di­rec­tor Ho­gan’s fas­ci­nat­ing fam­ily life.

Un­able to cope with five de­mand­ing teenage daugh­ters – lead by lo­cal new­comer Lily Sul­li­van in her first act­ing ven­ture as Co­ral – and her phi­lan­der­ing politi­cian hus­band Barry (An­thony LaPaglia), Shirley Moochmore (Re­becca Gib­ney) is sent to a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion to re­cover from a ner­vous break­down.

The drama snow­balls when Barry picks up hitch­hiker Shaz (Toni Col­lette) to look af­ter the dys­func­tional girls.

Not ev­ery­one will be com­fort­able with many of the is­sues raised by Men­tal. Some will find it skates too close to the bone, mak­ing light of a se­ri­ous sub­ject. But that’s ex­actly the point of it.

For as long as peo­ple find the sub­ject of men­tal ill­ness a tricky one to dis­cuss, the world will need films like Men­tal to help stim­u­late the kind of de­bate re­quired to help so­ci­ety deal and heal.

If, as Sir Peter Usti­nov once said, com­edy is sim­ply a funny way of be­ing se­ri­ous, Men­tal is a timely tri­umph.

Some au­di­ences will find Men­tal’s brand of hu­mour dis­taste­ful; oth­ers will think you’re a fruit­cake if you don’t find it funny. But as Men­tal re­as­sures us, at the end of the day, we’re all fruit­cakes.

Ad­mit it. You’re men­tal. I’m men­tal. We’re all just a bit men­tal. And there’s noth­ing wrong with that.

opens on Oc­to­ber 4, with ad­vance screen­ings from to­mor­row un­til Sun­day at The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast, Har­bour Town, Robina, Aus­tralia Fair.

Deb­o­rah Mail­man (sec­ond from left) and Toni Col­lette (arms raised) lead a won­der­ful cast of new­com­ers who play the Moochmore girls in di­rec­tor PJ Ho­gan’s locally filmed com­edy/drama

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