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Movie review: Any Questions For Ben?

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Feb 25, 2012

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Ever wondered what a modern and thoughtful Australian comedy would look like?

Any Questions For Ben? is a great new comedy shot beautifully around Melbourne. Ben is a 27-year-old marketing expert who takes old brands and updates them for younger shoppers. He also has a string of short term girlfriends. Before you have seen the movie, the title is a bit strange – but let me explain. Ben is invited to his old high school’s careers night along with some old school friends. When Ben begins to explain what he does to the current students, he himself is not convinced it sounds good, and that comes across in his delivery. But his female friend Alex, who works for the United Nations in Yemen, has the students captivated. All the kids have questions for Alex, but no one has a question for Ben.

Though he may have had it coming, Ben has a mid life crisis as a result of this (at his age it is called a quarter life crisis). We follow a year of his life through dating an international tennis star and starting a new job.

The central relationship of the film is between Alex and Ben. Ben has a commitment issue with women, but Alex seems like the perfect woman for him. A theme throughout the movie is accountability for your choices, as his mate Nick and his new wife shows us. Like so many of us, turning 18 and graduating did not make Ben grow up. However, the support of close friends and his caring (and loud) mentor may just do the trick.

Any Questions For Ben? portrays Melbourne as a modern, cosmopolitan and fun city. It is great to take note of the locations – Captain Cook’s Cottage, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Yarra River.

I appreciated that the Christian minister featured in one scene is portrayed positively. This is welcome after many people of faith have been shown in a bad light in recent cinema.  It is produced by Working Dog, the same company who brought us the Australian classics The Castle and The Dish. You might know Josh Lawson, who plays Ben, from their television comedy show Thank God You’re Here.

This film is about growing up and making the right choices. Rachael Taylor (Red Dog) is perfect as Alex. There is also a theme of finding peace in a messed up world. It is a fun ride, with an emotional roller coaster, multi-faceted characters and fun humour.

This movie is probably OK for taking your 16-year-old-and-above teenagers to, but not younger children, because of sexuality and language.