As a film-lover I have nothing against a ‘nice’ film, I do have a problem though with films that are not creative. Of all the Australian films that have been released over the past few weeks few have received as much mass media attention as Long Story Short. Radio and television have been all over the film’s director and co-star Josh Lawson (The Little Death), not surprising considering his popularity on a number of Australian TV shows over the past few years. When compared to those other Australian films that have come out recently though it does feel like those radio and television shows may have backed the wrong horse in the race.
The thing about Long Story Short is that it isn’t a bad film, no it is pretty enjoyable to watch and I even laughed once or twice during it. The problem with the film though is that it is such a tired formula that much of the film becomes predictable and clichéd. The film is actually so predictable that a friend of mine told me exactly what would happen in the film and how it would end from just watching the trailer. The good sides of the film are also sadly brought undone by some lazy screenwriting as well.
In the tradition of movies like A Christmas Carol the general plot of Long Story Short sees the ‘gonna-doer’ Teddy (Rafe Spall – Life Of Pi) visited by a mysterious stranger (Noni Hazlehurst – Candy) as he repeatedly puts off his wedding to his fiancée, Leanne (Zahra Newman – Wentworth).
To show him what could happen the stranger uses her to power to suddenly make a few minutes of Teddy’s life become a year in everybody else’s life. The result is that he suddenly sees what will happen if he does to change his life and what would happen with the relationships he has with Leanne, his best friend Sam (Ronny Chieng – Crazy Rich Asians) and his ex Becka (Dena Kaplan – Dance Academy: The Movie).
Strangely both the film’s strengths and weaknesses both lay in the writing. On the one hand there are some brilliant and witty one liners delivered by Teddy that show that Lawson is capable of delivering a very funny comedic script. On the flip-side though the screenplay is predictable which takes all the suspense out of the film while I also found a huge issue with the film assuming that I would simply dislike Becka because she wasn’t Leanne. As a character Becka does nothing to hurt Teddy, he breaks up with her because he likes Leanne more so when she shows back up in the film you actually feel sorry for her rather than dislike her like I am assuming Lawson as a filmmaker wanted me to do.
The film’s other big strength is the acting of Rafe Spall. Spall carries this film throughout. Not only is he in just about every scene but he also saves the film with his great comedic timing and his ability to make even the dullest scene watchable.
There have been some great Australian films released so far in 2021 but sadly Long Story Short is not one of them. This light and fluffy film might be the perfect date movie but it offers very little to those that are looking for a memorable cinematic experience.