Monday, 30 September 2013


“And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel: It provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.” - Dave Barry

At the weekend, we watched the Dean Murphy 2009 Australian film Charlie & Boots starring Paul Hogan, Shane Jacobson, Morgan Griffin and Val Lehman. This was a slow-paced, wry comedy that depended very much on the two male leads Hogan and Jacobson who carried the movie in what is essentially another road movie with a “healing-of-a-father-son-relationship” theme.

Charlie (Hogan) is heartbroken after the sudden death of his wife and is taken by his estranged son Boots (Jacobson), on a road trip up to far North Queensland. They hope to realise their dream of going fishing at the northernmost tip of the country in Cape York. They drive from Warrnambool in Victoria, into New South Wales and up through Queensland visiting many famous and not-so-famous locations. The movie has a relaxed pace, depending for its forward motion on the relentless drive of the 3,500 or so km. The two stars have amusing conversations interact with the locals and pick up a young, perky hitchhiker (Griffin) who wants to be a C&W singer in Tamworth.

Shane Jacobson known for his role as toilet cleaner Kenny, another Aussie comedy of the same name, works well with Hogan. There are some mildly amusing moments, but no laugh-out material. Some serious or sentimental family issues are dealt with superficially as the father-son relationship is repaired. The whole film is a little travelogue, a little comic sketch type material, a little sight gag, a little bit of a homespun homily.

All things considered, this is a pleasant and largely enjoyable film exploring male bonding, with both funny and touching aspects. Australians who have taken a multiple-day road-trip will easily relate to the movie. It is quite a picturesque tourist guide of rural Australia, with travellers encountering the Grampians, Tamworth, Forbes, Tenterfield and the Great Barrier Reef. The cinematography by Roger Lawson does justice to these locations in an understated way. Dale Cornelius’ musical score adds another pleasant dimension to the film.

“Charlie & Boots” may not Oscar material or art film, it may riddled with endless clichés and old jokes, but it is pleasant and will make you smile.

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