Spin Out (2016)
Let Love Take You For A Ride.
According to directors Tim Ferguson and Marc Gracie, Take Away (2003), rural Australia is all about driving a Ute, gulping down beer and living off welfare payments; well, that’s what Spin Out wants us to believe. *Sigh* Boozing, brawling and B&S Balls have never been so bland.
Our key players here are Billy (Xavier Samuel), Lucy (Morgan Griffin) and Sparrow McGee (Travis Jeffery), the triad making up a formidable Ute muster team in a small close-knit country town. But when Billy’s latest stunt goes awry, Lucy threatens to up an at ‘em and move to the big smoke — her decision sending Billy into a *cough, cough* ‘spin.’ As an array of larrikin types come to town to celebrate the annual Bachelor and Spinsters Ball, Billy and Lucy have one night to wake up to their true feelings towards one another and figure out whether they’re more than just friends.
While Spin Out is a pretty harmless rom-com, the script by Tim Ferguson and Edwina Exton (which takes place over a 24-hour period) is littered with embarrassing ‘ocker’ stereotypes and over-done clichés, the film set in a regressive world where homosexuality is both stifled and denied. Caricatures include the championship beer-guzzling Podge (Dorje Swallow), who’s in training to beat the current record, unaware that his pregnant girlfriend Michelle (Brooke McClymont of The McClymonts — one of Australia’s top country bands) is hiding some (potentially) upsetting news. There’s a trio of dole-bludging losers, the rambling Tubby (Mark Nicholson), good-natured Rooter (Thomas Blackburne) and JJ (Brendan Bacon), a man of very few words, who decide to join the army to impress their fed-up girlfriends Shazza, Merline and Taylah — Lisa Kowalski, Aileen Huynh and PiaGrace Moon respectively. Then we have the stuck-up socialites, Nic (Lincoln Lewis) and Sacha (Christie Whelan), who are ‘oh-so appalled’ by the bumpkin shenanigans they arrive to be a part of. Yawn, we’ve seen all this before.
It’s somewhat criminal to have leads such as Xavier Samuel, Love & Friendship (2016), and up-and-comer Morgan Griffin, Charlie & Boots (2009), on the payroll and then waste them on material as generic and hollow as this. See, Jackaroo, Billy, is too ‘wild’ and Jillaroo, Lucy, too ‘up-tight’ … will they get together? Who cares — especially when character motivations are sketchy and your actors appear as though they’re reading lines written for a high school production. The only ‘stand-out’ (well, I don’t know if I’d call him a ‘stand-out’ but he’s certainly better than the rest) is Travis Jeffery, Unbroken (2014), who portrays Billy’s best mate Sparrow, a joker who’s struggling to declare his undying love for a goth-chick named *rolls eyes* Scary Mary (Melissa Bergland). Yep, it’s that kinda film. Furthermore, a lot of the plotting feels convenient and most of the farcical gags fizzle, the majority missing their mark; then again, one’s enjoyment of the flick will likely depend on whether you’re that way inclined.
Shot in and around Shepparton, Victoria, Spin Out is (at least) well made, sporting a slick, polished aesthetic, complete with some impressive stunt work for those dusty spin-outs that bookend the picture. The soundtrack is fun, too, a number of pop-y, festival ready songs sprucing things up a bit, particularly throughout the frenzied messy night. Special mention goes out to X-Factor singer/ songwriter Taylor Henderson, whose track ‘Light Up the Dark’ almost saves the entire movie from sinking into the mud-wrestling pit … almost! I’d say if you want to support the project, pick up a copy of the soundtrack and leave it at that. The flick’s themes of commitment — whether to a partner, a particular lifestyle or community — are admirable, too, even if everything comes across as worn and withered.
Look, if you want to spend 92 minutes in the company of dim-witted bogans, who literally drive around with the words ‘country pride’ written across the back of their southern cross flags, fell free. Just don’t expect filmmakers to have their hands firmly upon the wheel, this cinematic vehicle swerving all over the shop. ‘It doesn’t get any better than this,’ Billy utters a couple of times throughout the film — I can assure you folks, it most certainly does!
2 / 5 – Average
Reviewed by Mr. Movie
Spin Out is released through Sony Pictures Australia