The Rage In Placid Lake

The Rage In Placid Lake


Reviewed by: David Stanners

There's been a spate of successful Australian comedies over the last few years and the latest slice of antipodean humour may well be the best so far. The Rage In Lake Placid stars twentysomething cult rock musician Ben Lee, as Lake Placid, a certified oddball trying to make his way in a bland mainstream world.

With hippie parents as useless as they are, he has very little help. They merely dress him in a skirt and teach him that weird is good and normal bad. Naturally, school is a heartache for Placid, where his intelligent quips and sideline personality earn him the full range of beatings from his macho male peers.

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However, when one night he takes revenge on the school he detests, he ends up in hospital very much the worse for wear. It is here that he decides to reinvent himself and turns life on its head.

Sick of oddballing around the fringes, he opts for safety, with structural parameters. Entering the insurance business, much to the disdain of his parents and Gemma (Rose Byrne), his long-term fellow weird companion, he embarks on a hilarious trajectory of mainstream self discovery.

Director Tony McNamara has pushed the right buttons in this one. Coming from the Muriel Wedding's school of humour, but funnier and sharper, he has carved out a rites-of-passage comedy with intelligent, off-the-wall laughs throughout. The extremities of character, from office workers in desperate need of a thrill, to Placid's parents - hopeless Sixties caricatures, lost in time - are diametric delights that bounce off each other in all sorts of directions.

It's hard to know exactly where the humour is heading, which is refreshing, but when it hits the high notes, it's both quirky and delivered with razor precision. Some is ironic, some is straight, some is deep, some is shallow. Dynamics are the key here and McNamara mixes the laughs through chortles to belly movers to side splitters and back.

Performances are strong all round. Besides Lee and Byrne, other notables include Chris Stollery, as Placid's boss, with some beautifully timed irony and cracking one-liners, and Francis McMahon, as the brown nosing, jealous colleague, desperate for promotion.

This is light-hearted, but intelligent humour. A cracking script feeds great delivery and, in the end, the feelgood factor is pleasingly high.

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2003
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Subversive comedy about an oddball making his way in a bland world.
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Director: Tony McNamara

Writer: Tony McNamara

Starring: Ben Lee, Rose Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Garry McDonald, Nicholas Hammond, Saskia Smith, Christopher Stollery, Francis McMahon

Year: 2003

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia


EIFF 2003

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