It’s the classic Aussie actor’s career arc: a stint on ‘Home & Away’, a handful of homegrown movies then it’s off to Hollywood. But judging from her recent performances in ‘Diana’ and this dire son-swapping Australian melodrama, could Naomi Watts be the first to go full circle and end up back where she started?
Watts plays Lil, a widower whose contented life in a miscellaneous well-to-do beachfront community is spent in the company of best friend Roz (Robin Wright) and their hunky, surf-bum sons Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Tom (James Frecheville). But after a pair of late-night drunken encounters spiral into something more serious, the mothers discover that they’re both having affairs with the other’s offspring. And like any self-respecting Sheila, they decide to go with it.
‘Coco Before Chanel’ director Anne Fontaine’s sun-kissed anti-romance has so far screened under three different titles – ‘Perfect Mothers’, ‘Two Mothers’ and now ‘Adore’ – but it’ll take more than a cosmetic alteration to lift this lifeless, sagging effort. Each of the characters is either obnoxious – the mothers are forever worrying that the townsfolk see them as ‘a pair of lezzos’ – or horrendously dull: the male leads don’t do anything except surf, pout, shag and look good in swimwear. To add insult to injury, it goes on forever, tracking the characters over an increasingly excruciating ten-year span.
Still, if Watts really does want her old job back, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate calling card. With its soap-operatic performances, bonkbuster plotline and sparkling seafront setting, all ‘Adore’ really lacks is a cameo from Alf Stewart.