Like its central character, Crackerjack is a lazy, slobby film. It’s an undemanding vehicle for TV and radio comedy star Mick Molloy, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother and produced.It’s the story of a selfish man who learns character by becoming a team lawn bowls player, but the film’s satire of the elderly bowlers is ruthless. Only Frank Wilson’s club president and Bill Hunter’s maverick bowler escape with any dignity. Occasionally, Molloy seems to be attacking their conservatism - at other times, adopting it.
The jokes are laboured and repetitive, with the typical “old codger” gags arriving as if on schedule. It’s the first film for veteran TV director Paul Moloney, who seems to think he’s still making The Sullivans back in 1976.Occasionally the jokes hit their mark and earn chuckles, and there’s a rousing finale, but this pre-digested entertainment treats its audience like sheep. And, just like sheep, they’ve unthinkingly flocked to it, unaccountably making Crackerjack the highest grossing Australian film of 2002.