Not Suitable for Children (2012) – Australia

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 12th January 2013
Reviewed as part of Film Critic Circle of Australia Awards Nomination 2012

Australian Box Office Takings: AU$468,959

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Director: Peter Templeman
Writers: Michael Lucas (story), Peter Templeman (story)
Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook and Ryan Corr

“Not Suitable of Children” is one of those carefree films that never takes itself too seriously and that is not entirely a bad thing. Australian films of late have lacked a commercial edge and the latest genre feature film debut from director Peter Templeman is certainly commercially driven. However, the film tend to drag, the laugh out loud moments are rare and at the end of the day lacking a cutting edge emotional core for the audience to truly care about Ryan Kwanten’s character and situation. This is most certainly not a bad film, but it relies heavily on a single act (Kwanten getting testicle cancer and needing to find someone to have a baby before the operation) and by the time the film ends, “Not Suitable of Children” just doesn’t have enough fuel in the engine.

Ryan Kwanten is slowly craving his way into Hollywood and like many Australian actors started out in “Home and Away”. Here, Kwanten underplays his character, constantly acts dumb and typically a twenty-something red blooded male. The downplay of the character makes the audience unable to fully sympathise or laugh with his character. In contrast, Sarah Snook shines in her role as Kwanten’s best friend and potential “surrogate mother”. Snook has wonderful presence and is probably the most human of all the characters in the film. The way, she expresses her emotions through daunting eyes allows the audience to feel her situation.

All in all, “Not Suitable of Children” is an adequate attempt at commercial cinema, but the film suffers from playing far too safe, predictable and some questionable pacing. The premise started out fun and even quite interesting, but the film constantly feel rather flat and ordinary throughout. It is easy to see that director Peter Templeman have skills, but a film like this needs to relate to the audience and if it needs to truly engaging, it needs to be far more funny. Not a bad film, but never rises above its own genre conventions. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 6/10

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