AFTER the critical and commercial success of Australian film in 2009, much was expected in 2010.
If last year was widely perceived as something of a watershed year for domestic cinema – the runaway international success of Samson & Delilah and the critically acclaimed Beautiful Kate restored faith in our own filmmakers and stories – then this was to be a year of consolidation after a long time in the wilderness.
But while the praise has been heaped on our dramas, the romantic comedy is not a genre that has traditionally spawned many noteworthy films here.
Buddy rom-com, I Love You Too, however, could prove the breakthrough.
Written by funnyman and first-time film screenwriter Peter Helliar (Rove, Before The Game) and produced by Laura Waters (Summer Heights High), it tells the story of Jim (Brendan Cowell, Noise, Love My Way), a 30-something guy who cannot seem to say “I love you too” to his girlfriend of some three years, Alice (Yvonne Strahovski, Chuck).
At his birthday dinner, he presents her with a commitment ring, but Alice is looking for more, so she dumps him.
After an all-night bender with best mate Blake (Helliar) – whose idea of helping Jim is to take him out to sleazy clubs and have one-night stands – he stupidly breaks into a car.
It’s here that he meets Charlie (Peter Dinklage, Death At A Funeral), who is a dwarf but has his life together, unlike Jim.
The pair form an unlikely friendship that teaches both men to have courage to pursue the one they love – in Jim’s case, Alice, and in Charlie’s, the beautiful Italian supermodel Francesca Moretti (WA’s own Megan Gale in a promising, if not glittering, big screen debut).
I Love You Too is certainly not without its flaws. Indeed, the first half hour is littered with cringe-worthy Aussie suburban stereotypes that will have you thinking our home-grown comedies haven’t evolved very much at all.
But then, a surprising turnaround sees the story take shape and the characters come into their own, delivering a quirky, urban narrative with so much heart and warmth, it’s hard not to fall in love with Aussie comedy all over again.
I Love You Too
Directed by: Daina Reid
Starring: Brendan Cowell, Peter Helliar, Megan Gale
Rating: Three-and-a-half stars