2012, 116 mins., written and directed by P. J. Hogan.
Supposedly based upon the director’s personal experience, this Australian film is set in the fictional town of Dolphin Heads, and centers upon a family of five teenage girls and their mother, Shirley, who is prone to belting out songs from The Sound of Music. Shirley and the family are neglected by a philandering politician father, Barry, played by Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace). Shirley cracks, and is committed to a mental institution, which her husband calls a “holiday.” Meanwhile, each of the teens is convinced that they are afflicted with some mental disorder. Barry desperately searches for a nanny, and spots hitchhiker, Shaz, played by Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, The Sixth Sense), and hires her to take care of his girls. This comedy has far too few laughs, as it is broadly drawn, and hits the viewer over the head with its ham-handedness. And, to top it off, the Von Trapp Family references seem to flow endlessly, to the dismay of all! See the record for Mental.
Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection. The opinions expressed are his alone.