August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Released: 2013; Written by: Lachlan Ryan, Jarrod Theodore, and Dan Cannon; Directed by: Lachlan Ryan and Jarrod Theodore; With: Dan Cannon, Rosco Brauer, Julian Shaw, Bianca Linton, Helen Bongers, Daryl Cannon
Like all good sports movies, Reverse Runner begins with a dreamer and his dream. Kid Campbell (Dan Cannon) has wanted to be an award-winning reverse runner (folks, it’s exactly like it sounds; you run backward) since he saw the legendary John Jones win his fifth reverse running title when Kid was, well, just a kid. Kid’s been working hard and putting in long hours with his trainer, Leroy (Rosco Brauer) in order to bring home the same title himself as a young adult. His only obstacles are his father’s (Daryl Cannon) refusal to believe in the legitimacy of his dream, an accidental rule-breaking snafu in the qualifying race, a feud with current title-holder, mousy, vapid Steven James (Julian Shaw), and feelings for a girl (Bianca Linton) so intense they cause him to regularly forget the his task-at-hand.
I will readily admit that, although I am fond of saying that Australian cinema has quite the hold on me, this particular film did not bring the expected brand of humor to the table. I was expecting pure quirk. What I got was pure goof. While a bit surprising, it was executed brilliantly. RR is a darling slip of a movie, complete with some hilarious (and well-timed) predictable training montages. Cannon and Brauer have wonderful chemistry and Julian Shaw is delightfully irritating. Bianca Linton is perfect here as the soft-spoken, clever, true prize.
The only real suffering here is the movie’s attempt to throw every conceivable sports movie cliché into one big Rocky Balboa-sized pot. Admittedly, this is a sports movie parody, so it’s amusing as all get-out to watch this film “wrap up,” but I did find it a little confusing from time-to-time.
There are a couple of really clever scenes in this movie, not the least of which is a first-date conversation between Cannon and Linton over a romantic dinner. While scenes like this present some “mixing” within the genre, I did really enjoy it and wished for more like it.
At its heart, RR is a fun film. It’s warm-hearted and I invite you to wholly embrace the goof.
–Leah Gehlsen Morlan