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Australia 2002
Directed by
Stephen Amis
92 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Real Thing

Director Stephen Amis, who with others privately funded this film to the tune of $AUD1.5m, has a track record in television and the juvenile market (his first film, See Jack Run opened the 1993 Melbourne International Children's Film Festival).

The Real Thing stars John Candy look-alike, Sean Connery/Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator and co-writer, Ross Buchanan, as an overweight nerd who gets involved with a blind sculptress, Daisy (played by Kate Fischer, referred to in the titles as Katie Fischer), in what is a very unlikely romantic comedy (and yes, the iconic Russell Morris song does get an airing).

The script, by Amis, Buchanan and Adam Browne has some genuinely funny ideas, Buchanan plays his John Candy part well and Fischer, although no great shakes as an actress, is surprisingly winning. Amis’s direction is consistently effective and I can imagine that in some quarters The Real Thing could attain near cult status for its off-beatness and pop cultural references although the televisual look tends to betray its intention - which is to spoof the Hollywood rom-com and the fantasy-generating culture of film in general. In this respect it is quite easy to dismiss The Real Thing as rather forced comedy but it is much better than that 

FYI:  When Daisy and Ralph go to the movies, Jean Cocteau’s 1946 masterpiece, Beauty And The Beast is showing – a highly improbable event but a clue that there is more to this film than meets the eye.




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