With its unlikeable characters and comedy that is awkward at best, Not Suitable for Children does little for the modern secular family cause.
This is a film that wears its modern-world-values-big-boy-pants proudly. With its young filmmakers and hip cast, Not Suitable for Children refuses to have its characters play slave to the traditional rules of boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl have a baby. This is 2012 and such thinking is no longer a part of the 20 something crowd. Well, at least according to this move it isn’t.
Let’s take Jonah (Ryan Kwanten) for example. A hell raiser and a womaniser, Jonah doesn’t have any goals in his life than to turn his inner suburbs town house shared with Stevie (Sarah Snook) and Gus (Ryan Corr) into party central every Friday night to the annoyance of his neighbours.
When Jonah finds out he has testicular cancer and that his upcoming operation to remove a testicle will leave him infertile (betcha he regrets shooting his load in those condoms), he realises he wants a kid. Really, really wants one.
It’s not as if screenwriter Michael Lucas (whose own health scare inspired the film) or director Peter Templeman bothered to flesh out Jonah’s need for offspring before going baby crazy. Here we were thinking that the only babe on his mind was the blonde with the fit body and low I.Q. Maybe there’ll be a deleted scene on the DVD to explain it all.
In the meantime Jonah is looking for a womb to take his rapidly in peril seed, and there are takers to be sure such as a lesbian couple (Alice Parkinson and Lulu McClatchy) and a career woman with a rapidly ticking biological clock (Susan Prior). Cue many clumsily acted scenarios.
It’s when Not Suitable… focuses on the central relationship between Jonah and Stevie that it finds its heart. Kwanten and Snook’s different energies work well together, and Snook is an especially warm presence amongst the darkly photographed inner west Sydney backdrop and perfectly counters the mugging theatrics of Ryan Corr who takes on the role of clown best friend, yet annoys instead of bringing the laughs.
Snook can only bring so much to the table. This is a Ryan Kwanten vehicle and his Jonah is, simply put, an unlikeable prat: irresponsible, lazy, a symbol of the 20 something slacker at its most obnoxious. Not suitable for children? At the least.