Director: Josh Lawson
Starring: Bojana Novakovic, Erin James, Tasneem Roc
Release Date: 8th May 2015 (UK)
I never thought the day would come when Love Actually and Shortbus had a cinematic baby, and I would actually enjoy it. But alas, Josh Lawson’s A Funny Kind of Love is a charming Australian comedy with lots of heart, though not a romcom for the prudent.
The film follows the interwoven narrative style used most successfully in Love Actually and not so successfully in Crash, flicking from one relationship to the next as each experiment with personal sexual triggers to relight the spark, or in some cases blow a fuse, in their marriages. It’s a neat idea, gliding between five couples’ attempts to reconnect, and it’s most refreshing to see a well executed romantic comedy about marriage.
Director Josh Lawson has done very well in bringing each story to life with the care and detail it needed, though the standout story was that of deaf Sam and phone interpreter Monica, helping him through an adult chat line. The two characters connected, and fortunately this chemistry was given a solid uninterrupted block to flourish, much to the detriment of the others. In fact, Monica and Sam deserved their own film.
The elephant in the room comes in the form of Maeve. A film that tackles sexual fetish will not come without controversy, but the young blonde reveals to her long-term boyfriend a masochistic desire, and subsequently confesses a rape fantasy, which her loved one then embarks to act out in the most convincing way possible. Getting the tone of such a sensitive subject right is almost impossible for a comedy, though in Lawson’s credit he did about the best job he could. Many will argue that this has no place in the film, and there are good reasons why. However, to the writer’s credit there is a clear attempt to play this out as a phase, resulting in Maeve adopting a more acceptable moral code, but they perhaps could have done more.
Leaving this necessary debate for another forum, as a comedy film it succeeds quite well. Australian cinema doesn’t exactly have the best track record at the box office, but films like this prove how much potential there is. The acting could have been better, but Hollywood can definitely learn a thing or two from the subtlety in its humor. It doesn’t slap you in the face with a punch line every time you need to laugh, which makes such an awkward premise all the funnier.
A Funny Kind of Love is not to everyone’s taste, and will hardly set the box office on fire, but it is a unique romantic comedy that deserves to be seen. Whether it makes you mad or sad, this is a film that will get people talking. But don’t show the kids!
A Funny Kind of Love is out on Digital HD 6th July and DVD 17th August