While I understand that a film critic’s role is to overthink films, it’s sometimes a drag. Case in point: Swinging Safari. Walking out of a press screening last year, I had it pegged as a raucous, rambunctious Aussie comedy with more energy than taste, with more than a few satirical razorblades cooked into its pudding.
Thing is, though, I’d been commissioned to write about the film for Metro Magazine, which necessitates some deep analysis. Picking up the film’s themes and formal qualities; you know the drill. That kind of analysis doesn’t benefit Swinging Safari, from Priscilla Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott; while it offers a convincing impersonation of an excoriation of Aussie culture in the moment, it falls apart like an overcooked pavlova if you poke it a little.
Still, there’s a string of broad, often-funny jokes at the expense of everything that was terrible about ‘70s Queensland culture (think: fashion, food, parenting and literally everything else), so it still warrants a cautious recommendation. In retrospect, though, I think it’s a little too high energy. A good farce accelerates into absurdity; this one hits fifth gear from frame one and never lets up. Exhausting, but still pretty funny.