The Man Who Sued God

The Man Who Sued God


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

It doesn't have to be such a cliché, and Billy Connolly tries his damnedest to stop it, but the little guy versus the big corporation is as old as banana in your ear jokes. The difference is that this time it questions the existence of God, which is hardly the stuff of farce.

Steve (Connolly) can be found on his pesky boat, with his dog Arthur, catching cray fish in the bay. He has an 11-year-old daughter (Emily Browning) and an ex-wife (Wendy Hughes), who lives with the guy from the caravan park (Blair Venn).

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One dark and dismal day, when the wind is blustersome and the waves furious, a streak of lightning destroys his boat and, with it, everything he owns. He feels secure, since he has comprehensive insurance, until the company refuses to pay, due to "an act of God" exclusion clause.

As well as being middle-aged and free of spirit, Steve was once a lawyer. He returns to the courthouse to sue the Church. On the way, he picks up support from a neurotic journalist (Judy David), whose haircut deserves a mention on the Aliens Ate My Beachball website.

The forces of the establishment include Church leaders and a sceptical rabbi, as well as suits from the business world and a patronising attorney (Bille Brown). Steve's brother (Colin Friels) is also a lawyer, whose loyalties are tested when the other side puts pressure on him in the form of "business your way."

Connolly plays himself. The language is fruity, the personality all encompassing, the humour warm and generous. The character of Steve doesn't stand a chance. This is The Billy Show. As for Davis, she is not cut out for comedy. An intense performer, who has been dubbed "the patron saint of modern emotions" after such heavyweight films as Barton Fink and Naked Lunch, she emanates disquiet.

The morality of power, in this case financial power, is put in the dock. Fine words are spoken and yet the outcome is weighed against a realistic result. Steve/Billy has all the charm, the Church/insurance company all the humbug. It's so predictable, you expect idiot cards - LAUGH, FEEL MUSHY, APPLAUD - to flash across the screen.

Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2003
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Billy Connolly sues the Church after his boat is destroyed by "an act of God".
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Director: Mark Joffe

Writer: Don Watson

Starring: Billy Connolly, Judy Davis, Colin Friels, Bille Brown, Wendy Highes, Blair Venn, Emily Browning, Vincent Ball, Tim Robertson, Linal Haft, Peter Whitford

Year: 2001

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia


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