Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mental: Lighter side of madness

If Mental has a message it's 'Define Normal'. Writer/director P.J. Hogan, of Muriel's Wedding fame, returns to his roots in a homage of sorts to the Sound of Music, Jaws, and Muriel herself.

It's a very talented cast. There are high profile international faces. Toni Collette is a delight as Shaz but she has had a history of mental illness of course, particularly in her American Tara role. Anthony LaPaglia as Mayor Barry Moochmore also abandons his yankee TV accent in a role that's not too challenging. Liev Schreiber as shark hunter Trevor Blundell turns the tables as a very convincing Aussie.

Rebecca Gibney as Shirley Moochmore and Deborah Mailman as Sandra lead a wealth of local talent though their glory is stolen by the Moochmore youngsters played by Lily Sullivan, Bethany Whitmore, Chelsea Bennett, Nicole Freeman and Malorie O'Neill.

This is no masterpiece like Muriel but it worked as comedy. Audience reaction was definitely positive. A lot of laughs for such a serious subject.