Any Questions for Ben?
Any Questions for Ben? (Rob Sitch, 2012) wr. Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch; Josh Lawson, Rachael Taylor, Daniel Henshall; comedy; released 9 February 2012
I really tried to like this. Right from the start I thought it was just too cleverly written for my old brain to appreciate it, tho I was missing half of everything. By the end, I had completely lost any interest I might have thought I had. I still think Frontline is one of the best things I've ever seen on TV; maybe this team should work only in that medium. And cast actors, not models.
... the third feature film from director Rob Sitch and beloved Australian production company Working Dog, who have made precisely that: a dog.
The blobs of writers' block offal masquerading as a storyline concern 27-year-old Ben (Josh Lawson) ...
Even more painful than Stephan Elliott’s dire A Few Best Men, Any Questions for Ben? is a culture cringe clunker so awfully written and directed it challenges audiences to do the previously unthinkable: to reflect on Working Dog’s The Castle, a prize possession in the pool room of great Australian comedies, in the context of a brilliant fluke. Luke Buckmaster, Crikey.
The problem with the film, apart from it being only sporadically funny, is the character of Ben himself, there's too little development and a lot of repetition. And that's true of all the characters. Given the length at nearly two hours there was space for it. David [Stratton] may have a problem with handheld cameras but I have a problem with choppy editing and that features irritatingly, leading more to a feeling of chaos than exhilaration. Margaret Pomeranz, At the Movies.
Falling comfortably into the rom-com genre, the film indulges in several collage scenes, in which we are nursed along by music as unheard characters go through a variety of actions (eg walking in park). It's a bit of a lazy cliché, but the film can stand it.
Chirpy and bright, often lol funny and with something to say, AQFB is a contemporary take on a generation that really is lucky - if only it can cash in on that luck. If the film has a flaw it's in the excessive stretching of the material, given there are not enough layers or complexities to give it ballast. But it's impeccably made and has a big heart. Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile.
... this cranky review may imply that I expected or desired Any Questions for Ben? to be more than a bit of fluff, but it seems to me a film with ambitions to say something – about Gen-Xers, how and why we love, and the nature of men and women today. Or to put it another way, it’s full of the kind of fake insights and sanctimonious crap to be found in magazine self-help columns. Pity, because that’s a real fun killer. Peter Galvin, SBS.
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