A freelance writer, reviewer and broadcaster passionate about South Australia's fabulous wine and food.
Published January 16th 2018
With this new production coming from Stephan Elliott, the maker of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, what can you expect but sex, social insight, scandal - and a lot of wry laughter!
If you lived through the '70s, this movie will resonate with your memories as it accurately portrays the heady days of K Tel, Funk & Wagnall's and fondue parties, with 3 families in a (once) quiet seaside town dealing with their neighbourhood battles and the effects of a large, dead, blue whale washed up on the local beach. If you weren't around then, you may be amazed, possibly shocked and even bewildered, but you will definitely be entertained.
From a cast featuring many of Australia's best-known faces, the standout performances actually came from the two young leads, Atticus Robb as Jeff and Darcey Wilson as Melly, the fourteen-year-olds at the centre of the action, as their parents try to pair them up to simultaneously lose their virginity. Their self-obsessed but confused parents are played by Asher Keddie and Jeremy Sims and Radha Mitchell and Julian McMahon. Guy Pearce and Kylie Minogue put in totally over the top performances as neighbours Keith and Kaye Hall, absolutely hamming it up and loving every minute!
Starting with a working title of 'Flammable Children', the name was changed in production to Swinging Safari and the once popular tune of that name recurs as a theme throughout as these swingers try to drag their unwilling children into adulthood, despite their own selfish irresponsibility.
Meanwhile, the afore-mentioned whale has washed up on the pristine beach of Wallaroo (I wonder how the Yorke Peninsula locals feel about the borrowing of their town's identity?) and once the novelty has worn off and the beast starts to decompose, this tale takes a change of direction as the Mayor (a safari-suited Jack Thompson) decides to blow it up, to the consternation of Jeff and Melly and with catastrophic consequences to the townspeople.
Stefan Elliott's inspiration for this movie must surely have come from his own '70s childhood and he has unashamedly utilised some of our quirky 40-year-old Australian fads and fashions to bring a unique era to the big screen in another amusing and nostalgic offering.
Swinging Safari will be released nationally on January 18th.