There are pretty much only two Australian films. Just two. There are really dark morbid films about death and misery (Snowtown, Animal Kingdom, Lantana, Wolf Creek) and there are Aussie battler movies about unlikely underdogs who overcome the odds or stick it to The Man (The Castle, Australia, Crackerjack, The Dish).
I mentioned before in the Queensland election blog that there is a weird dichotomy in this country between our perceived challenges as a nation and the reality. The overwhelming reason Queenslanders voted out the incumbent Labor party in the recent election is because ‘the cost of living is too expensive‘. The reality, which no politician in their right mind would have the courage to say, is that we’ve never had it better. We just can’t differentiate between cost of living and cost of lifestyle. Misinformation in our country is so high that for some inexplicable reason, a third of our country think we’re in a recession (???).
Which is why its surprising that someone would make a movie like Any Questions For Ben? This is a cheerful upbeat rom-com about a responsibility-free Gen Y guy in his mid-twenties named Ben who likes to party and earns good money in his job as a marketing manager. He has a epiphany when he attends a careers night at his old highschool and no one has any questions for him. Instead all the students are interested in the chairty work being done by the other speaker, an attractive well-spoken woman named Alex who works for UNICEF. Ben falls in love with Alex and by the end of the film, he learns to appreciate humanistic pursuits like aid work and teaching in developing nations.
The film sank without trace in the Australian box office and people either didn’t watch the film or hated it. Ironically, it probably needed a marketing guru in pre-production to tell them no one in this country wants to watch a movie about how well off we are.