Yesterday arve we went to see Mental, a new movie by PJ Hogan, the man who gave the world Muriel’s wedding.
Do you remember all those weird coincidences about the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy? You know, elected President in 1860/1960… both names contain seven letters…shot by men born in 1839/1939. That sort of thing.
Well, there are some similarities between Muriel’s Wedding and Mental that are not so weird and, in fact, not even exactly the same. Well, apart from being made by PJ Hogan, that is.
MW: Toni Collette stacked on weight to play the part of Muriel
M: Rebecca Gibney stacked on weight to play the part of Mum Moochmore
MW: Set in Porpoise Spit
M: Set in Dolphin Head
MW: The backyard needs mowing
M: The whole house needs a makeover
One very conspicuous not quite the same coincidence is the music.
I’m not saying Abba music should be banned, or that people should not like it, but for me personally their very first hit went from annoying to grating after about a week of airplay. And for years I actually avoided watching Muriel’s Wedding, just because it had music by Abba in it.
I regret that now, because when I finally relented the movie was great fun in spite of the Abba Music.
Mental contains a lot of music from The Sound of Music. Apart from a couple of hundred others, The Sound of Music is the movie I most hate to be within a 20km radius of.
But I have to say Mental is a great movie, in spite of the Sound of the Music.
I’m trusting the trailer above gives some hints of just how over-the-top some of the humour is.
Aunty has a built-in “stupid” barometer. She has a great sense of humour, but there is a line beyond which she finds it hard to suspend disbelief. For the first 20 minutes of the movie she sat with a neutral expression on her face. It’s probably just as well her knee is bung or she might have got up and left. But eventually it got to her, and she started to laugh. This is high praise from a difficult customer.
And just as well the old girl is no prude, because eventually there was “language” – including that very, very, very naughty word. In the context though, this is funny too, and Aunty’s reaction was to roar laughing.
Being me, I focused on the profound, deep and meaningful theme as well as laughing hysterically along with TO and Aunty. Which is to say, this movie is high art as well as comedy.
Toni Collette was as good as Toni Collette at her best.
Rebecca Gibney ditto.
Deborah Mailman had a good, 3 dimensional character to play in The Sapphires, but here she gets a chance to really get into a 5 dimensional part, and she does it very, very well.
What can I say about Sophie Lee? I’ve seen her astonishing acting talent live at La Mama, but in movies it seems she always ends up playing a bit part as dumb blonde bimbo slut. It always seems such a waste. Oh well, she is focusing on her writing and making babies now anyway - in fact the plot of her novel Alice in La La Land is about an actress trying to get a break in Hollywood, and I suspect it has a grain of something autobiographical in it.