Haven't we seen enough of those romantic comedies in which two feisty people get together after a cute meeting and 90 minutes of arguing? As new director Bowman says, romantic comedy is difficult to do well. "It is like making a souffle," he suggests. Well, sadly, somebody has opened the oven door on this one.The main premise - larrikin truck driver secretly writes Barbara Cartland-ish bodice-rippers - is pretty lame in itself. Furthermore, the execution, despite valiant efforts by the mostly-okay cast, fails to engage. The plot is convoluted enough for comic purposes, but still feels as if it's been constructed according to script writing rules.
When city slicker publisher Ziggy Keane (Milliken) comes to find her 'brilliant' new female author, Jack (Jackman) persuades Ruby Vale (Karvan) to pretend to have written his book. The three of them go to Sydney for the launch. Ziggy soon guesses that Jack is the writer and promptly seduces him. Eventually, Jack and Ruby head back to the outback where they finally pair off. This triumphant coupling being about as predictable as having a torch at the opening of the Olympics.
The film indulges all the Aussie film stereotypes - remote outback pubs full of good old 'characters', the lonely (sensitive) man and his dog, country values beating those of the city slickers etc etc. It is a lineage stretching back at least as far as Crocodile Dundee and it wasn't much good then.Some of the outback shots are a momentary distraction and the two leads hold a good close up (Jackman in particular looks like he might have some real talent). But really this looks like 'AFC-funded Aussie filmmaking by numbers'. Wait till the video but then you wouldn't even enjoy the wide-angle outdoor shots. ---Julian Wood