Complete A-Z list



Stars: Brenda Blethyn, Khan Chittenden, Emma Booth, Richard Wilson, Rebecca Gibney, Frankie J Holden

Director: Cherie Nowlan

The first half of this Australian film is often poignant and funny, but the movie, like its characters, outstays its welcome. Blethyn plays Jean, an English entertainer with an absent singer husband and two grown-up children, one brain-damaged but able to do most things for himself.

Jean divides her life between cooking at a fast-food joint, and doing stand-up comedy at clubs and teaching singing to kids. 'You're an Irish tenor from Shanghai,' she tells her latest pupil. 'You don't find many of those.'

As a comic, she's as raunchy as they come - but not very funny. Her regular intro - 'Ladies and genitalia-feeling people' is mild compared with what follows. And she does unspeakable things with balloons...

Nonetheless, at home Jean's a control freak with a firm grip on her sons. And when Tim (Chittenden), the youngest, finds a sexy girlfriend (Booth), Mom is soon slagging the hottie off as 'Rent-a-Ride'. She's only nice to anyone, in fact, when she wants something, and we tire of her and the people around her some way before the end.

There's a nice touch in the final scene, though, when, at her son's wedding, the apparently happy and sincere Jean reveals in a little glance that's she's still putting on an act.

David Quinlan

Australia 2006. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Atlab.
105 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 16 Sep 2007