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Australia 2008
Directed by
Peter Duncan
93 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a standard issue made-for-television Australian rural town comedy. In this case the town is Rushworth in Victoria (the film was shot on location in the real town of the same name). Rhys Muldoon plays Ben Valentine a travellin’ man who finds himself in trouble with the local police and assigned by the town magistrate (Roy Billing) to 200 hours of community service coaching the town's football team.

Aussie Rules, a pie factory, a lot of likeable characters, a chick band, a couple of token Aboriginals and you have all the ingredients you need for a vernacular feel-good comedy. Whilst there are no surprises here, Peter Temple’s script is neat and manages at times to inject some appealing bitter-sweetness into the familiar story line. Equally, whilst Peter Duncan’s direction is journeyman stuff, sometimes straying into bleeding heart territory, it’s efficient enough. Fortunately the cast are effective – photogenic but adept in bring their characters to life with Muldoon, at the best of times a rather limited performer well suited to the role of the diffident charmer, Freya Stafford winning as the footy-mad country lass and Roy Billing, as usual, on the money as the down-to earth old school Aussie.

A minor addition to the little battler comedy sub-category, if you have time to while away, Valentine’s Day does the job.

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