Australian? Planning your debut feature film? Choose horror – all you need do is conjure up a few shocks and your job is done. It’s much, much harder to succeed in comedy, and as for romantic comedy – well, if James L Brooks falls on his face more often than he hits a home run, what hope does a first-timer have? Bucking the odds is Oscar-nominated short filmmaker Peter Templeman making his first feature, Sydney-based romcom Not Suitable for Children, and with the help co-screenwriter Michael Lucas (Offspring) damn near nailing it.
Jonah (Ryan Kwanten) lives in a Newtown sharehouse and every Friday night hosts a wild party. His housemate Gus (Ryan Corr) is a budding promoter who’s in it for the money, but Jonah’s in it for the sex. When a girl finds a lump on him, Jonah’s faced with imminent infertility. Can he convince one of his many exes to have his baby before his shot at fatherhood is gone for good? That’s where Jonah’s other housemate, Stevie (Sarah Snook), comes in to help his search, and that’s where the movie finds its stride. Stevie can’t stand babies – witness her handle one like unexploded ordinance – but something is stirring within her.
Snook has been kicking goals on the stage for a few years but apart from a walk-on in Sleeping Beauty, this is her film debut. A green-eyed redhead, her likeability sneaks up on you and steals the film out from under Kwanten – a ranga hasn’t made such a seductive big-screen splash since Emma Stone. Snook gives the film its heart but the laughs are there too, such as the look on Kwanten’s face as Jonah meets with a May-September lesbian couple and tries to figure out which partner wants to receive his seed. You’ll laugh all the way to the sperm bank.