The Castle - D
Viewed May 8, 1999 at Lincoln Square
The Castle may be the nadir of Australian comedy[1], a field that isn't exactly crowded with zeniths. It's saddled with the stupidest voiceover narration I've seen in some time; this is the kind of film that thinks having the narrator (the youngest son in the family) describe a line of dialogue and then have the characters repeat the same line is high hilarity. The joke is funny once, but like a Saturday Night Live sketch, The Castle repeats it to the point of physical pain. What makes it worse is that the entire first half is entirely snickering condescension; Rob Sitch and his fellow writers are mocking the Kerrigans for being so blissfully happy. So when the plot turns into a Capraesque fable of a little guy against the system, the film turns into a disgustingly cynical exercise in feel-good pap. It just spent the first half kicking the Kerrigans as ignorant white trash. Now Sitch expects us to cheer them on?[2] Excuse me while I go puke. At least Dale in his capacity as voiceover narrator more or less shuts up, which is a small mercy.

[1]At least those that have made it to this side of the Pacific. I'd hate to think about how bad the ones that don't show up here must be.

[2]I should add that the second half of The Castle, taken by itself, isn't all that bad; if the first half of the movie had been the same way, the film would be passably entertaining, if derivative. (Not much can be done about the workmanlike direction, though.) Combined with the patronizing first half, the effect is nauseatingly cynical.