Well Go USA // 2012 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 6th, 2013
Have some balls.
Jonah (Ryan Kwanten, True Blood) is a twenty-something man who isn't into growing up. Jonah shares a flat with his best friends Gus (Ryan Corr, Where the Wild Things Are) and Stevie (Sarah Snook, These Final Hours), and their weekends consist of making money throwing lavish, raucous parties. Jonah's world is suddenly sent into a tailspin when it's discovered that he's got testicular cancer. Although treatable and not life threatening, Joseph learns that the diseases will mean doctors have to take one of his testicles which will leave him infertile. With only a few weeks to go, Joseph has a sudden awakening that he wants to have a child before he's rendered baron. When an attempt to freeze his sperm fails, Joseph must scramble to figure out if he wants to hunt down a ready and willing partner to help him conceive a child...or forever stay fatherless.
Women have biological clocks that allow for a limited amount of time to have a child. Men seem to have the upper hand in as much as their sperm seems to stay ready and willing for years and years (even decades). Many people struggle with infertility but most of them don't know the exact day when their reproductive organs have an expiration date. If you knew, what would you do? And what if you couldn't freeze your sperm and were forced to either get someone pregnant in three weeks or accept never having kids? Not Suitable for Children takes this idea and stretches it out into a full length film that isn't good or bad...it just sort of is. I didn't actively dislike it but I'm also not compelled to tell you it's worth an hour and a half of your time.
Aside of its rather amusing title, Not Suitable for Children is a rather convoluted film that follows along an obvious romantic comedy plotline. Sure, the story is slightly different with the whole testicular cancer idea, but in the end the whole movie is just a variation on a theme. The lead character is a childish partier who must see the errors of his ways. While searching for love he realizes that the best fit is a person that's been right in front of his nose for years. If you think that I'm spoiling the movie for you, then clearly you haven't been to the movies since Bogie found The Maltese Falcon.
The lead actor is Ryan Kwanten, unknown to me but familiar to fans of HBO's vampire series True Blood. Kwanten has a rather likable personality, but his character Jonah has only two distinct traits: he likes to party and he wants to have a kid. I never felt like I really got to know Jonah as a real person; instead we're given a portrait of a man-child who has to learn to grow up fast after getting diagnosed with testicular cancer. Fairing better is Sarah Snook as the love interest who is terrified of children because she thinks they're like little "aliens". Snook reminded me of Emma Stone with her tomboyish good looks and funny delivery. Frankly, I wish the film would have focused more on her instead of Jonah.
One of the main problems with Not Suitable for Children is that we don't really know why Jonah wants kids because Jonah doesn't know why he himself wants kids. The character sort of sleepwalks through the movie as he attempts to decide why he wants to have a child; considering his slacker party persona, it's hard to buy that this guy cares much about having a baby. If the writers can't figure out a good reason for the main character to go on his 'quest' (be it for dragons, treasure, or a newborn child), why should we, the audience, care? The humor is rather muted, falling under the weight of the cancer topic, which will pretty much cast a pall over any film. It's a real comedy killer, even when it's not used as a death sentence (the movie 50/50 being the exception to the rule).
Not Suitable for Children (Blu-ray) is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. The transfer looks good, slightly soft, but with a crisp texture and a very nice color palate. While I wouldn't say the video transfer really "pops", it looks good for being a low budget romantic comedy. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English and gets the job done. There are a few moments when the surround sound kicks in (notably during party scenes). Otherwise this is a very front heavy track with characters speaking in front of the camera. Also included on this disc are English subtitles and a Dolby 2.0 track in English.
Bonus features include a few brief interviews with the cast and crew (director Peter Templeman and stars Ryan Kwanten, Ryan Corr, and Sarah Snook), a short behind-the-scenes featurette, and a trailer for the film.
Not Suitable for Children just didn't grab me. The screenplay by Michael Lucas (Australia) and director Peter Templeman runs out of ideas quicker than the film's run time, which means we're left sitting watching a story unfold that doesn't offer much, except a route to get to the finale. If you come upon this movie on a rainy day, it may be an adequate time waster. When I watched it, the sun was shining and I had other things I could have been doing. Watching this didn't need to be one of them.
Barely suitable for movie fans.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated