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"THE CASTLE"
(1999) (Michael Caton, Stephen Curry) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild None Moderate None Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor Minor Mild Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Faced with the expansion of a nearby airport, a simple but proud man does what he can to protect his family's home from being acquired by the government and torn down.
PLOT:
Darryl Kerrigan (MICHAEL CATON) is a simple, but proud working class, tow-truck driver. Proud of his wife Sal (ANNE TENNEY) and their four kids including youngest son Dale (STEPHEN CURRY), Steve (ANTHONY SIMCOE) who's always looking for a great deal in the classifieds, Tracey (SOPHIE LEE) a hairdresser who recently was married to Con (ERIC BANA), a kickboxing fanatic, and even oldest son Wayne (WAYNE HOPE) who's serving time in prison.

Things couldn't be much better for the Kerrigan's, especially Darryl who sees his ramshackle -- and always under construction -- house as his castle. Thus, he's more than just a little perturbed when he gets a notice that the adjacent international airport is planning to expand and will tear down his home along with those owned by his neighbors, Farouk (COSTAS KILIAS), Evonne (LYNDA GIBSON) and elderly Jack (MONTY MAIZELS).

Hiring conveyance attorney Dennis Denuto (TIRIEL MORA) -- who unsuccessfully defended Wayne -- to represent him, Darryl sets out to stop the government-backed airport consortium from buying, bullying or threatening him and his family to leave. With the odds stacked against him, Darryl continues his fight, and with the added assistance of seasoned barrister Lawrence Hammill (CHARLES 'BUD' TINGWELL), goes all the way to the Australian Supreme Court to save his home.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens who've heard the "buzz" about this film, may want to, but it's highly unlikely that most kids will have any interest in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MICHAEL CATON plays the simple, but proud working class, tow-truck driver and family man who may seem simple, but digs in his heels to fight losing his family's home. Along the way he uses some strong profanity and drinks some.
  • ANNE TENNEY plays his loving wife and mother to their sons.
  • STEPHEN CURRY plays the film's narrator who uses strong profanity twice, but only in repeating what someone else said.
  • ANTHONY SIMCOE plays one of the sons who's always looking for a great deal in the classifieds.
  • SOPHIE LEE plays a recently married hairdresser, the only family member with a degree. WAYNE HOPE plays the oldest son who's in prison for armed robbery, although we never see the committed crime.
  • TIRIEL MORA plays the family's incompetent lawyer who also uses strong profanity.
  • CHARLES 'BUD' TINGWELL plays another lawyer who generously donates his time and efforts to help Darryl.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    Having already won them over "down under," "The Castle," an amusing little Australian export, finally arrives stateside to entertain audiences with its low-key humor and charming, homespun ways. Reportedly made on what would generously be called a lilliputian budget, the film's laughs are similarly less than grandiose, but are plentiful and self-deprecating enough to keep audiences entertained for its brief, eighty-some minute runtime.

    While many are apt to compare this film with "The Full Monty" -- simply because that title is the current popular comparative model, but also because both are populated with down on their luck, working class stiffs with accents -- we found as many similarities between this film and the 1970's TV sitcom favorite, "The Brady Bunch."

    Although that show's later big screen incarnations poked fun at the Bunch's retro clothes and overall 70's fashion and styles, it also touched on what made the show so popular. With a happy, loving family, a proud and "all knowing" papa and a near overabundance of never failing optimism, Mike Brady and his clan may have been a bit goofy, but were -- and still are -- a breath of fresh air in an otherwise jaded and cynical world.

    The same holds true here for the Kerrigan clan. While director Rob Sitch and his three collaborating screenwriters, Jane Kennedy, Tom Gleisner & Santo Cilauro (all from the popular Australian comedy show, "Frontline"), often tiptoe along the fine line between outright adoring their characters and scathingly poking fun at them, for the most part they make them into an endearing family clan.

    It's from that setup and not particularly the situational premise where most of the film's humor originates. While the picture does seem to neglect an abundance of comedic potential surrounding Darryl's refusal to sell out -- including, but not limited to the obvious building of a moat around his "castle" -- most of the film's humor comes from the narrator's many voice-over passages -- most occurring early in the film -- describing his family and their predicament.

    Other sources include some running gags about Darryl always asking his wife the name of the wonderful dinner she's prepared ("meatloaf") and his and Steve's continuous obsession with listings in the classifieds and always countering the seller's asking price. Although some of those bits are funny and a few mildly pay off later in the proceedings, I would have preferred to have seen more of them do so in direct relation to Darryl's defense of his home (such as buying bargain rate piranhas to fill the above-mentioned moat).

    As such, the film isn't as hilarious as it could and should have been, but is amusing enough to entertain moviegoers looking for a comedy style that's not so presumptuous and/or crude as may of today's films. Much of that can be attributed to the fine comedic performances from the lively and funny cast. Michael Caton plays the father as something akin to a "home version" of Crocodile Dundee in that while the character may occasionally seem naive and/or simple, he's charmingly endearing, honest and steadfast enough in his beliefs that you can't help but like him.

    Supporting takes by the likes of Stephen Curry and Anthony Simcoe as Darryl's two at-home sons are quite funny, as are those by Tiriel Mora as the incompetent lawyer and Costas Kilias as Farouk, the immigrant neighbor who gets the film's best lines. Commenting on the fact that when planes fly overhead one's abode in America, home property values drop, he says that in his homeland if a plane flies overhead it usually means it will be dropping a bomb.

    Quirky and charming enough to entertain all but the most ardent sourpuss, the picture is filled with ample amounts of small comic ornaments -- such as a wedding cake adorned with a small bride and kickboxing groom, and the many gags associated with living next to the airport -- to keep the overall proceedings, for the most part, constantly amusing.

    While the film could have used some bigger laughs -- and should have jettisoned the more coarse profanity to make it more "family friendly" -- writer/director Sitch and company wisely keep its runtime short, thus ensuring that this goofy family and their story don't wear out their welcome. They didn't for us, and thus we give "The Castle" a 6.5 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. The rating comes from extreme profanity that includes at least 20 uses of the "f" word, as well as other words and "colorful" phrases.

    Beyond that, some drinking and smoking, as well as the brief bad attitudes of the company (of them trying to intimidate Darryl that leads to brief, related violence to property), the rest of the film's categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • In a flashback to Tracey's wedding, we see people with wine and champagne.
  • Darryl has a beer with dinner, and later at the family's vacation spot.
  • Sal recalls that her former boyfriend had wine and champagne for them on the night she met Darryl.
  • People drink at a party/celebration.
  • Darryl has a beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Wayne is in jail for armed robbery, but we never see any of his criminal behavior.
  • The government-backed airport consortium that wishes to take over the Kerrigan's property (in exchange for payment) has some of both. In addition, they send someone to intimidate Darryl, and late at night he discovers that someone has broken his car's windshield.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifle: Briefly aimed by Steve at a man trying to bully Darryl into moving.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "D*ckhead," "He can go and get stuffed," "Get Stuffed," "Pain in the ass," "Tight ass," "Shut up," and "Bloody," "Bloke" and "Bugger" (the British terms).
  • Darryl rushes out to find that someone has broken his car's windshield. In response, he and Steve go to the responsible party's estate, tie chains around the large entry gates and yank them off with their tow-truck.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 20 "f" words (1 written), 7 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 4 asses (1 used with "hole"), 3 hells, 2 uses of "bugger," and 3 uses of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Good Lord" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Dale mentions in his voice-over narration that Steve got married and three weeks later his wife had a child.
  • SMOKING
  • Darryl smokes once, while a neighbor woman smokes twice.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • The family must deal with the thought of having to move/losing their home.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether governments can take a homeowner's property.
  • How a family and its experience and memories make a house into a home.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Steve briefly aims a rifle at a man trying to bully Darryl into moving.
  • Darryl rushes out to find that someone has broken his car's windshield. In response, he and Steve go to the responsible party's estate, tie chains around the large entry gates and yank them off with their tow-truck.



  • Reviewed April 27, 1999 / Posted May 14, 1999

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