This modest Western Australian romantic comedy has all the elements for success - and not much idea about what to do with them. It's funny in parts, innocently likeable, it has great locations amid stunning landscapes, but almost no narrative drive or tension. Arranged in the foreground is an appealing cast of pretty young things, and one very big casting coup, with John Cleese flattening his vowels to play a Dirty Digger media mogul called Brian King.
Cleese does to the Australian accent what his character has already done to his remaining newspapers. His scenes were filmed in London and tailored for export. He chews the scenery but that is tolerable. Without him, the movie would be in a lot more trouble.
King has never encountered a scruple, at least in his own character. He needs some good PR so he agrees to sponsor a young man's hare-brained scheme to walk a couple of thousand kilometres up the coast for charity. Jake (Angus McLaren) has lost his girlfriend and his job in one day. The girl (Megan Smart) tells him he's boring.
What could go wrong? In a sense, nothing did. Veteran documentary maker Alan Lindsay, on feature debut, set out to make a sunny picture that was uncomplicated, light as air, optimistic and romantic. He succeeded, but the film's weightlessness is also its weakness.
Jake's sleazy housemate Cameron (Callan Durlik, who wrote the script) says the charity walk will attract hundreds of willing chicks. Brian King, who is Cam's uncle, offers 200 grand, but only if Jake does it in the buff.
They compromise: he can do it in a loin-cloth and a lot of sunblock. And off we go into the great western splendour, with drone shots and one breathtaking landscape after another, jogged along by a pop-rock soundtrack that seems never to wane. It's like an ad for WA and the joys of a very long walk.
What could go wrong? In a sense, nothing did. Veteran documentary maker Alan Lindsay, on feature debut, set out to make a sunny picture that was uncomplicated, light as air, optimistic and romantic. He succeeded, but the film's weightlessness is also its weakness. Almost no one in it is convincing, and the script dispenses with logic as needed.
Lindsay uses the pop soundtrack to paper the dramatic cracks, but that just draws attention to the film's slack pacing.
Durlik's script is a series of comic sketches, only some of which are funny. To his credit, some of them are memorable, such as the scene in which Jake is bitten on the finger by a snake while relieving himself in the bush.
Durlick says he got the idea for the comedy on a road trip up the coast to Coral Bay. He took two years to write the script, slaving away at night while he worked in real estate, after getting tips from the book How to Write a Screenplay That Sells by Michael Hauge.
Unfortunately, the film gets sappier as Jake trudges north. He meets a gorgeous English girl (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and loses his heart. The script then throws everything at him to keep them apart.
The film is uneven, but kind of innocent and bright, like a 1960s holiday comedy. If Sir Cliff Richard had come walking over the dunes singing, I would not have been surprised.