Not Suitable for Children Reviews
When Jonah finds out that the treatment for his testicular cancer will make him sterile, he sets out on a mission to make a baby before his time runs out.
Such a subject isn't the easiest to stretch out over an hour and a half, so it's a tribute to writers Michael Lucas and Peter Templeman that the film is constantly charming with a wry sense of humour and sarcasm, executed brilliantly by the three leads. The writers have also nailed the characters here, as each of them could easily be locked up in their own stereotypes, but instead are real and layered with hidden depths. Jonah in particular could easily come off as unlikeable after his funny moron schtick wears off, but instead his character imbues the movie with a childlike innocence, despite its initially crude subject matter. Templeman also has a keen ear for every day conversation and the awkward intricacies it brings. Some of the film's funniest moments are in the cringe-worthy conversations between a guy who needs to find someone who wants a kid immediately and his confused subject. At its centre, however, the film is a romantic comedy, and Templeman never forgets to focus on the real relationships developing behind the babymaking farce. The main romance never feels unrealistic or cheaply found. Instead, the two characters grow together naturally through their own developments as characters and understanding of themselves.
Making these characters a reality is a fantastic cast who are perfect for each of their roles. At the front of the pack is Ryan Kwanten. Most people will know the Aussie star from True Blood but he has kept returning home to make independent, cleverly strange films like Griff the Invisible. Here, his Jonah has touches of Jason Stackhouse's stupidity but he's such a likeable guy that he's instantly endeared to the audience. His journey from aloof playboy to earnest adult is forced upon him at first, but by the end of the film he has made the journey in his own right. It's a performance which you can't help but like thanks to Kwanten's great comedic sensibility and an ability to convey a vulnerability and depth in what could easily be a shallow, unlikeable character. His counterpart, Sarah Snook, is more than a match for Jonah as the sarcastic Stevie. She's always the first one to point out the stupidity of a situation and bring a little sanity to the works. However, her sense of humour makes it tough for her to connect with others emotionally, something which Snook displays perfectly. Her awkward manouvering through a real conversation is as touching as it is funny. Ryan Corr provides even more to the comic relief side of things as Gus, the housemate constantly in the dark, constantly on the very edge of knowing what's going on. Other performances from Bojana Novakovic, Alice Parkinson and Laura Brent are welcome additions to an already great cast.
Almost a member of the cast in its own right is the soundtrack. Full of an eclectic mix of party tracks and subtler, softer choices, the music does a great deal to heighten the film while also working in the crux of each scene.
Peter Templeman's direction is a cut above your average indy film: confidently restrained, cleverly dynamic and unafraid of earnest emotion. He handles every beat of the film with the flair of someone who doesn't even realise this is their debut feature. Having written the script, Templeman very clearly understands his subject matter and his characters and, more importantly, how to convey this through his direction. Whether it's an incisive close-up during a key moment for a character or tracking an oblivious Jonah through a pulsing crowd, Templeman adds a mood and a beauty to his film through his camera.
Australia can either make very good films or very bad films. For every Animal Kingdom there's going to be a Bait to follow it up. Not Suitable for Children wobbles a little throughout, but it ends firmly in the good column.
The cringe-worthy hilarity of an arrangement with a lesbian couple.
In fact, the script may seem like it'll plummet into vulgarity and sex 24/7 and nudity after the party scene to start, but it doesn't. It actually delivers a likable love story about a guy who is looking for a woman to bear his children before he has surgery to make him infertile. I though Bojana Novakovic looked exactly like Emma Stone. She is the Australian version hands down. Just as beautiful playing the part of roommate/love interest well. The story outcome isn't hard to see, but sometimes these movies just require you to sit and enjoy the ups and downs
Props for effort. It works in parts and falls at others.