The Marriage of Figaro
Details: (M), In Cinemas 17 September 2009, Australia, English
Synopsis: After a kind hearted but irresponsible Australian biker (Tony Hill) finally proposes to the mother (Jacqueline Cook) of his two kids he struggles to prevent the wedding from wrecking their perfectly good relationship.
Biker comedy substitutes Aussie blokiness for a story.
Australian has had no shortage of knockabout, larrikin screen heroes such as Darryl Kerrigan or Kenny Smyth, nor under the radar, independent productions that deliver a new view of our country as the likes of Mad Max or The Magician previously have. But in attempting to combine the two, the genial South Australian comedy The Marriage of Figaro falls short on far too many fronts, resulting in a barely functional movie.
The feature debut of writer/director Chris Moon – previously a cinematographer who efficiently shoots here on what must have been a minimal budget – is inspired by sound recordist Tony Hill, a motorbike riding, classical music enthusiast. Moon casts Hill, who hasn’t acted on screen before, as Fig, a motorbike riding piano tuner who feels compelled to marry the mother of his two children, Sherree (Jacqueline Cook), after eight years together.
Very little works with the film, which had a scattered cinema release in 2009, and the problems stem from its very foundations. The screenplay substitutes Aussie blokiness for a story, believing that a liberal application of “mate” and “luv” will make do. Yes, a great many Australians live straightforward lives, but to reduce them to various colloquial expressions punctuated by beer cans creates cliches as broad as the anguished middle-class screen children they’re meant to be an antidote to.
There’s a succession of cartoonish, snobbish figures – a sommelier, a jeweler – that sport ludicrously affected accents, but Fig barely interacts with any of them. He’s so good-natured that he’s completely inert as a protagonist. There’s no-one for Fig to outwit, instead he’s at the centre of brief scenes that can’t even deliver a decent punchline. And is marriage really such a comic dilemma for either audiences or Fig himself, given that he’s so deeply ensconced in everyday domesticity?
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