Short Reviews: Not Suitable For Children (2012)


not_suitable_for_children

Behold ladies and gents! An Australian film that is good while not being either a crime drama and/or totally fucking morose!

Not Suitable For Children is a product of that new semi-sub-genre of romantic comedies that seem just as committed to appealing to the sensitive-new-age-male audience and as a result shed their genre trappings and become something more of a quirky indie film instead.

Ryan Kwanten stars as Jonah, a party-animal and all-round nice guy, if not something of a hedonist. When he learns he has testicular cancer and will be left sterile by the surgery to remove it, he begins an expedition to try and find a potential mother for his as-yet unborn children in any of the women he’s had relationships with in the past. He’s helped along the way by his cool and down-to-earth housemate Stevie (Sarah Snook) and it quickly becomes apparent that she’d be just as good a match for Jonah’s plan, if only they weren’t already really good friends and totally weirded out by that.

This is a movie that takes what could’ve been a very tried and trite plot devoted to wacky hi-jinks and obvious laughs, and instead treats its premise with heart. The characters are likeable and take a relatively honest approach to the situation and how it might play out. The movie knows that Jonah and Stevie are going to end up together (it’s practically spelled out in the trailer) and so the process of getting them there is funny and endearing, and when they finally do it feels the same as when two of your real-life friends who are so obviously into each other finally get together.

The movie’s not without its genre moments (the evil ex-girlfriend coming back into play at the worst possible time, the montage of successively worse attempts by Jonah to convince his exes to be mothers to his children, etc) but the movie plays them with something of a sense of realism, despite the out-there nature of its premise.

There’s also a surprising amount of sex in the movie, so be warned if you sit down to watch it with the parents – it’s graphic enough to make it an uncomfortable living room experience, but again, testament to the film’s honest take on the conventions of its genre.

Ryan Kwanten makes a very likeable lead as Jonah, and Sarah Snook turns Stevie into a legitimately cool character, and not just the plot-device of a romantic lead in an indie romance. The two have great chemistry, and create characters so convincing you want to invite them over to your next barbecue.

Not Suitable For Children is a very endearing film that is a genuinely feel-good movie without the syrupy sweetness that usually accompanies that description. It’s also an Australian film that you can thoroughly enjoy and appreciate without having to sit through two hours of Drama with a capital D. It’s a genuinely cute little movie that makes you feel all happy and pleased with things.

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