Razzle Dazzle

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Movie Review by Neil Sadler

Starring: Ben Miller, Kerry Armstrong, Denise Roberts, Shayni Notelovitz

Director: Darren Ashton

RAZZLE DAZZLE is from the producers of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but has more in common with that other Australian classic, Strictly Ballroom. It has the same faux documentary style as The Office or Confetti and stars British comedian Ben Miller as well as a host of lesser-known (at least they are in the UK) Australian actors.

The story of Mr Jonathan and his rather unconventional dance school as they enter the Australia’s largest dance competition for under 14’s – it is throws in lots of styles of humour from subtle (the shy costume maker and her hidden passion for Mr Jonathan) to broad (a pratfall involving sawdust and vomit.) It tends towards the broad but much of the humour is character based and it gives this film a heart that was lacking in such films as confetti but was part of the strength of things like The Office. Add in a likeable dash of camp – it is a dance competition after all – and you have a very enjoyable film – perhaps not one that you would go out of your way to see at the cinema, but one that you are unlikely to regret seeing.

In the lead role, Ben Miller plays his usual innocent fool, unaware of his own fallibilities and generally all the more likeable for it. As pushy Mum, Justine – Kerry Armstrong veers into caricature a bit too often as do some of the other peripheral characters – but it is saved by non-annoying child actors and mostly by the rather tender love story between Miller and single Mum, Paulette (Nadine Garner).

There are misfires and the characters tend towards stereotypes at times but this is a warm and enjoyable film that mocks its subject whilst also showing a great deal of admiration for it.

This film hits more often than it misses. There are a lot of good comedies out this year and this scores poorly when compared with the gross-out likes of SUPERBAD but it is a likeable film and you will warm to the characters.

4 out of 6 stars