Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 100 minutes
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For those who’d hoped they’d seen the last of TV bad boy, Mick Molloy when Channel 9 gave him the boot…bad luck, he’s back. But don’t get out your arsenal just yet – because this time, the actor – who cut his teeth on grand ABC series “the Late Show” before forging a promising radio career – is serving up something quite endurable – a quaint, characteristically Australian and mostly witty feature film, which he has co-written with his brother Richard. I never thought I’d be saying this but Mick Molloy might have crafted the best Australian comedy of the year.
The script wouldn’t have read like much. Jack Simpson (Molloy), a calculating prankster, who works in an inner-city office block, is up in arms when he’s suddenly forced to play lawn bowls. You see, he joined the Cityside bowling club years before – but only because they offered great car parks near his work – and now, unfortunately, his system has caught up with him and the local team is one player short.
Seems Cityside is in financial dire straits, and with the addition of the anomalous Jack to their team, they’re able to enter a tournament for a cash prize. Naturally, Jack discovers the sport ain’t half bad, and neither are the old coots he plays with and pretty soon he forms a relationship with both, ultimately becoming enmeshed in the fortunes of the club who need to win this tournament to survive monetarily.
While one might have suspected “Crackerjack” to deliver to only one type of audience – those who like loutish, untasteful jokes – the same people will be even more pleased to find it’s actually a pretty well rounded comedy with a charming enough storyline and a great lot of performers. Molloy has actually done wonders with the bare bones script.
John Clarke provides apt offensiveness as merciless local businessman, Bernie Fowler, who has plans to take over Cityside with pokies, veteran Bill Hunter gives a downcast but convincing turn as the observant Stan, Frank Wilson is delightful as Len, while Samuel Johnson and Judith Lucy add weighty support as the film’s token best friend and love interest.
So how’s Molloy I hear you ask? First things first, he’s no actor. Not even half of one. But he’s still got something. Whether it’s his ultra-Aussie style of humour, his in-your-face mind-set or uncultured looks – he works for this film.
The Molloy brothers have done the unthinkable and made a movie fit for anyone. It’ll be the furthest thing from AFI ballot sheets come next year, but if you’re looking for a film with enough zest, charm and old fashioned humor, you’ll be bowled over by just how bearable “Crackerjack” is.
Posted on November 8, 2002 in Reviews by Clint Morris
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