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Any Questions for Ben?

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Rob Sitch, Tom Gleisner, Santo Cilauro and company have already earned their place in Australian comedy heaven with cinematic gem The Castle and TV triumphs Frontline and Thank God You’re Here. (Let’s quietly forget Funky Squad and recommend the Working Doggers watch Dario Russo’s glorious new retro-comedy series Danger 5 to see how it should be done.) And it’s Thank God regular Josh Lawson, now making it big in the US, who springs forth a fully-formed romcom star in Any Questions for Ben?, the team’s screwball confection about a Melbourne marketing hotshot whose lifestyle of parties, women and adrenaline sports leaves him spiritually adrift.

Lawson’s funny, and so are his friends (played by the cream of Melbourne’s comedy fraternity plus, um, Snowtown’s bloodcurdling star Daniel Henshall). The script zings with Preston Sturges-style wit and the visuals quiver with adoration for Melbourne’s skyline, parks and laneways. Rachael Taylor takes a break from saying yes to every lousy Hollywood offer that comes her way and is rewarded with a well rounded leading lady part as Alex, the human rights lawyer whose inner and outer beauty provoke Ben to ask himself some posers.

Ben realises his life is pretty lame at an evening at his old school where kids can ask alumni like him questions. No one does. Here’s a question for the filmmakers: did you really think you could sustain a film about a guy with no drive or follow-through? After an initial rush of good characters and jokes, the movie has to compensate for the lack of a momentum by using the worst plot device of them all: the passing of time. Full marks for characters and one-liners, but next time please employ that query that every actor asks, every day: What’s my motivation?

Time Out TV - Any Questions for Ben?

Written by Nick Dent
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