An “Australian bromantic cricket comedy” might sound like an odd, unconventional mix, but Save Your Legs does little favours for either the sport of cricket or the country of Australia, tracing along the broadest of lines as director Boyd Hicklin delivers a rote underdog sports tale that suffers a fatal poverty of both wit and heart.
After a fifth-rate Australian cricket team blags their way into being sponsored, they head to India to embark on a sporting tour that will see them facing the toughest teams the nation has to offer, as well some equally taxing personal challenges. The Aussie charm should give this one a novel appeal, but the script, fast-bowling genre clichés and stock characters amid overbearing voice-over narration and low-mileage culture-clash tropes, is diabolical.
Things quickly hit rock-bottom once Hicklin wheels out the toilet humour from which the film never recovers. As a result, there’s no import to the drama – specifically a romance between team leader Teddy and a local Indian woman – nor any real fuss about the comedy, with gags too often copying other films unsuccessfully, for this is probably the hundredth film in the last decade to have a weed-ingestion scene in which the side-effects are widely over-exaggerated. The trite truisms soon hit us thick and fast, as Hicklin tries to make us care for characters who are scarcely developed beyond the labels of “boozer”, “shy guy” and “arrogant bloke”, so prepare to roll your eyes when one character informs us, “you only get 1 innings in life”.
Needless “serious drama” then intercedes in reel three, with one heart attack too many derailing the light, fluffy tone up to that point, while the whole shebang drags on at least fifteen minutes past our tolerance to care, though you probably gave up long before then anyway. The script is the prime culprit for the film’s failure, but the largely uncharismatic characters – aside from Stavros and Rick – make the gags and the heartfelt dialogues feel disingenuous and forced. By the point we’ve digested all this, not even a Bollywood-style dance number to see things off can raise a smile at this point.
A sad Xerox copy of the underdog sports comedy play-book with little charm to compensate.
This article was first posted on October 11, 2012