Film review by John Campbell
On the surface, this is a benign and bubbly take on the possibilities of the social network. Based on the stage show of the same name, Elspeth (Laura Michelle Kelly) is the frazzled house mum of twin boys so horrid that I wanted to throttle them within minutes of their appearance. Her hubby James (Ronan Keating) is at sea for long periods studying and saving whales, so we know he’s an altogether excellent chap and that there is no justification for Elspeth to whinge about her lot.
Nevertheless, as an outsider on the Apple Isle, she is suffering cabin fever. Fortunately, she is a dab hand at a song-and-dance, so she contrives to communicate with James by performing her numbers before a handicam so that he might catch them through cyberspace. Naturally, her ‘casts go viral and, without her knowing it, Elspeth wins a cult following around the globe and, ultimately, the golden opportunity to become a star in real life when Cassandra’s (Magda Szubanski) agency cottons on to her market potential.
Production qualities are high, the photography crisp, clean and bright, the choreography crackling and the songs excellent, if in a stagy, forgettable way. What struck me as problematic, however, was that in 2013 we should be sold a story that has as its defining theme the weary concept that a woman must choose between career and family, that she cannot be both a good mother and professionally successful. Indeed, the character who has managed to break through the glass ceiling, Cassandra, has only done so as a bitter response to being dumped by her husband because of her inability to have children. With films like this, feminism’s male chauvinist enemies are made redundant.
Presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, Elspeth happily goes back to the sink. Otherwise, this young fogey entertainment is buoyant, upbeat, one hundred per cent wholesome and, resembling in tone and substance an ad for some fantastic new washing detergent, only mildly nauseating.