As a big believer in the old-adage, 'less is more,' I'll admit I was feeling slightly dubious about the film Goddess, a self-proclaimed 'musical romantic comedy.' Unsure of what was to come my worst fears were quickly affirmed as I found myself in a theatre with a median audience age of approximately 75.
Set in Australia, Goddess follows the story of desperate housewife Elspeth Dickens, played by Laura Michelle Kelly, as she struggles to raise her troublesome toddlers in an isolated farmhouse without the help of her deliriously handsome husband and whale enthusiast James Dickens (Ronan Keating). Unable to get into contact with her husband and driven to the point of madness by her two unruly twins, Elspeth finds herself creating upbeat, satirical songs from the comfort of her kitchen sink and begins broadcasting them on the internet. The webcam soon becomes her ticket to fame as she is picked up by advertising guru Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski) and spearheaded to become the face of (sigh) cleaning products. You can practically hear the feminists rolling over in their graves.
Just as the movie starts to tug on your heart strings and you feel that familiar tickle in your throat akin to an emotional moment or the common cold, your feet quickly find themselves back on Earth as Elspeth is forced to make a choice between achieving her dreams or returning to her quiet country home to live our her life of household drudgery. The audience is taken on an uneventful journey as we are subjected to Elspeth's underlying guilt complex before coming to rest in anti-climaxville. For a film claiming to be a 'romantic-comedy', the complete lack of spark between the two main characters is almost comical, a relationship as cold and simple as the whales James spends the majority of the film chasing in the Antarctic.
Goddess is based on the original play Sinksongs written and acted by Joanna Weinberg. In comparing the two it's clear Lamprell's intention was to recreate Sinksongs as accurately as possible, however this time it clearly missed the mark. The storyline is undeniably similar however a sense of artistic integrity was lost in translating this one-woman show to the big screens. The characters themselves remain almost wholly undeveloped as we follow them through multiple miscellaneous plot-twists, like when Elspeth kisses a busker who seems to have no purpose except to act as a little eye-candy – before he, along with my expectations for this movie disappear into the abyss.
There were however some redeeming factors to this movie, the most predominant being a sneaky glimpse at Ronan Keating's rear-end and a knockout performance by one of Australia's more quirky leading ladies, Magda Szubanski from which we can draw similarities to a Helena-Bonham Carter-esque character. Cinematographer Damian Wyvill parades the beauty of Australian nature with some gorgeous sweeping shots of the Tasmanian country-side juxtaposed with artistic yet industrial shots of inner-city Sydney which definitely don't disappoint. The film is intoned with bright, cheerful colours which perpetuate the intended feel-good vibe that almost makes one forget they are feeling anything but.
So if you're looking for a romantic musical comedy without the comedy, romance or the kind of hilarity that would stop you hitting the snooze button, Goddess is the film for you.