With the hit-and-miss traditions of Australian comedies, ”Save Your Legs!” could’ve been an absolute balls-up that left the industry as red as a Kookaburra Red King 2pce. Instead, it’s one that snags a few points on the usually bare scoreboard of the sub-genre, and might possibly do runs around the competition upon release.
Tyro director Boyd Hickman’s film, based on the documentary of the same name about a self-confessed “D-grade” cricket-team from Melbourne, Australia who manipulate their way to playing for Australia in India, is structured largely around the strengths of its cast – including recognizable Aussie thesps Stephen Curry and Brendan Cowell – but it’s effective mesh of underdog sports yarn, enjoyable silly stuff (maybe not to the extent here, but we have all endured a bad case of the runs while on overseas holiday, right!?), and lightly-tread bromance themes, also helps in its cause to be a future boys’ BBQ classic.
Curry and Cowell, two of Australia’s most popular models for the ‘everyman’, shine in their roles as the over-eager president and clown captain, respectively. But quite honestly, every character in the film – from Gameau’s snazzily-dressed Casanova-type (no doubt a role Matthew McConaughey has sewn up to play in the Hollywood remake), David Lyons’ hippie Yoda clone, to ‘s veteran sponsor, whose gamble on the team looks to sour at any minute, and, of course, the country of India itself – has the spotlight shone on them at one time throughout the film.
The conclusion feels a little rushed and doesn’t encompass the rousing momentum that fellow underdog sports-comedies – be it Major League (1989) or even, fellow Aussie laffer Crackerjack (2003) – usually come with. Seems Writer is more inept at writing zappy dialogue and making sure every character has something to do on the field than choreographing the game itself, because the film’s finale lacks the punch and panache of the first hour-or-so. Still, I challenge you not to be barracking for the Abbotsford Anglers by the ten-minute mark; it’s a seductive little thing.
”Save Your Legs!” doesn’t hit it for six, but the cynical might want to pad-up anyway – this one comes with some zingers you mightn’t see coming.