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Not Suitable for Children(2012)
A young playboy who learns he has one month until he becomes infertile sets out to procreate as much as possible.
For more about Not Suitable for Children and the Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray release, see Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on April 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook, Bojana Novakovic, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Ryan Corr
Director: Peter Templeman
» See full cast & crew
Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray Review
Yes, but what about adults?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, April 12, 2013
It's one of the cruel ironies of life that women, those naturally gifted nurturers and cradles of life, have a biological clock that starts ticking somewhere in their 30s and gets progressively louder as the years go by, while men, who are often prone to (to use a not particularly graceful metaphor) scatter their seed indiscriminately, have no similar expiration date, at least relatively speaking. But what would happen if a man didn't just have a biological timepiece, but an actual alarm clock that was ringing furiously and didn't have much of a figurative snooze button? That's the basic premise of the generally genial if unambitious Australian rom-com Not Suitable for Children, a film which posits a hero who receives an unexpected diagnosis of testicular cancer (hardly the stuff of most comedies, one must admit) and decides virtually instantaneously to stop his wild oats sowing, or at least to channel those wild oats in a more focused fashion to try to father a baby before his condition renders him infertile. It's kind of an odd setup for a comedy, and one which Not Suitable for Children can never completely overcome, despite some agreeable enough performances and occasionally deft handling of a kind of depressing basic premise. There's little doubt that writer Michael Lucas and director Peter Templeman wanted to bring a little Aussie flair to a sort of "Judd Apatow lite" conceit, but neither has Apatow's panache when it comes to easily blending sweetness and coarseness, with the result being a curiously bland offering that only occasionally rises above a sort of "beige" generic ambience. The film also has decidedly few real laughs in it and instead is a rather bittersweet rumination on being deprived of choices.
We're introduced to Jonah (Ryan Kwanten) in the midst of a raucous party being held at his house, a domicile which he shares with Gus (Ryan Corr) and Stevie (Sarah Snook). It's Gus' ambition to make a regular weekly bacchanal a paying enterprise, something which goes slightly awry when Jonah's negligence in paying their electric bill makes the house go suddenly dark. A quick deal with a neighbor and some long extension cords gets the festivities back underway, but Jonah is soon sent for another, more serious, loop when a wacky girlfriend he's nicknamed Stalker Becky (Kathryn Beck) whisks him away to a bedroom for a quick assignation, only to find a disturbing lump on one of his testicles.
When a trip to the doctor reveals cancer, Jonah is given just a few more days of fertility before his sickly testicle must be removed. In one of the film's many convenient plot machinations, his attempts to cryogenically preserve his sperm backfires when it turns out he's in a small percentile of men whose seed doesn't take well to being frozen. That sets the film off on its central conceit, but it also points up the central failing of the film. Jonah is shown to be a party hearty kind of guy, one who is too busy getting drunk and stoned to even pay the electric bill, so why are we supposed to believe that a mere diagnosis of testicular cancer and looming infertility suddenly pushes him into a quest to become a father before it's too late?
That's a rather sizable stumbling block to overcome, and it's one that potentially fatally hobbles Not Suitable for Children. If you can either overlook or just outright ignore this issue, Jonah's mad marauding through a laundry list of women has some fitful pleasures, though again they're colored with a sort of wistful melancholy and offer few moments of amusement let alone hilarity. Jonah approaches his ex-girlfriend Ava (Bojana Novakovic) and meets with rejection. Other less committed relationships are revisited to similar effect, at which point Stevie suggests a more formal "arrangement", mentioning that a lesbian coworker of hers might want to utilize Jonah's "services". The introductory scene between Jonah and the lesbian couples is suitably awkward but once again shows just how ill conceived (sorry, pun unavoidable) the basic premise of the film is, for when one of the women asks Jonah why he wants to be a father, he can't really come up with a decent answer.
It doesn't take a rom-com genius to predict that sooner or later Jonah and Stevie are going to become an item, though Not Suitable for Children gets there is a rather over convoluted and needlessly thorny way, and furthers that problem by having the relationship fall apart almost as quickly as it begins. That leaves the brief third act of the film to pick up the pieces in a rather hurried fashion so that something akin to a happy ending can be gotten to with a minimum of fuss and bother. It's a far too sanguine conclusion to a film that has labored mightily to create a perceived problem, only to discard it suddenly in a sort of Gilda Radner-esque "Never mind" moment. Some audience members may well feel cheated that Not Suitable for Children opts for an easy out (with a kind of lame final joke) instead of really attempting to delve into the deeper issues that Jonah is facing with his sudden diagnosis.
While the writing here is probably the main culprit in keeping Not Suitable for Children from being more successful, the film does have the benefit of charming performances pretty much all the way around. Kwanten is appealingly disheveled and increasingly discombobulated as the film goes along, and Snook is gracefully winning in a pretty thankless role, bringing some depth and warmth to what is an otherwise pretty stale formula.
Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray, Video Quality
Not Suitable for Children is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. This digitally shot feature is a bit on the soft side and has less than fulsome contrast in many of its dimly lit interior scenes (many of which appear to have been shot with natural lighting), but otherwise offers a nicely crisp and well defined image. Though some scenes have been pretty aggressively color graded (Jonah's trip to the hospital is awash in blue tones, for example), the bulk of the film features very natural and nicely saturated color. Close-ups reveal very good fine detail, but the film never really pops very well, perhaps an intentional choice to give it a bit of that slacker ethos that Jonah himself is so representative of.
Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Not Suitable for Children features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that really comes vibrantly alive in the party sequences as well as its copious use of source cues. Otherwise, though, the film is a fairly quiet affair made up of small scale dialogue scenes which almost always are between two people. Fidelity is excellent, with dialogue and score very well prioritized, though dynamic range depends mostly on those boisterous crowd scenes to offer any real shifts in amplitude.
Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Julia Sweeney managed to mine cancer for some considerable laughs years ago with her God Said 'Ha'! outing, but Not Suitable for Children is a pretty morose affair when you get right down to it, despite the trappings of Jonah's party hearty lifestyle (or maybe because of them). While the actors are all very enjoyable, the writing here never rises to either the heights of dramatic tension or manic hilarity that would have pushed this film solidly into one genre or the other. Instead it's a kind of middling effort that has reasonable charms, but never manages to amount to much of anything at all. Kwanten fans will probably want to check this out in any case, for this role is decidedly different than the one he essays in True Blood.
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Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Not Suitable for Children Blu-ray - March 11, 2013
Texas-based distributors Well Go USA have announced that they will bring to Blu-ray director Peter Templeman's romantic comedy Not Suitable for Children (2012), starring Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook, and Ryan Corr. The release will be available for purchase on April ...
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