Footy Legends

 
Directed by: Khoa Do
Written by:Khoa Do, Suzanne Do, Anh Do
Starring: Anh Do, Angus Sampson, Steven Rooke, Emma Lung, Peter Phelps, Claudia Karvan, Matthew Johns, Andrew Voss, Lisa Saggers
Released: August 3, 2006
Grade: C+

Luc (Do) lives in Sydney with his 11-year-old sister, Anne (Saggers).  Their mother passed away several years ago and Luc has been struggling to look after both Anne and himself.  His main problem is that he can’t find a job.  As a result, Centrelink is cutting back his dole payments and social services officer Alison Berry (Karvan) is threatening to place Anne is a foster home.

If I’m supposed to feel sympathetic towards Luc, the filmmakers have not done a good job.  There’s a scene early in the film where Luc goes for a job interview as a car salesman at a Holden dealership (note the product placement).  He is completely out of his depth and it’s no surprise that he doesn’t get the position.  I feel that Luc could have gotten a job and fixed his life is he simply aimed a little lower.  I think Peter Costello might also have qualms with Luc’s story given Australia’s record low unemployment levels.

Economics aside, Luc and his rugby league playing friends see an advertisement for an upcoming competition.  It is called the Holden Cup (note more product placement) and first prize is a new Holden ute.  They decide to enter the competition with the hopes of winning the ute and using the proceeds from its sale to get their lives back on track.   In the words of commentator Matthew Johns, it’s “fairytale stuff”.

It culminates with a grand final showdown against a team of NRL legends.  Luc’s team will battle Bradley Clyde, Gary Larson, Cliff Lyons, Rod Wishart and Brett Kenny to decide the champion.

Footy Legends is a film which doesn’t know what it wants to be.  It moves back-and-forth between the genres of light-hearted comedy and emotional drama.  As is the case with many other sporting flicks, the football sequences are hard to believe.  Take the first game for example.  They look completely outclassed and yet they score a try in the final seconds to draw the game.

I feel guilty knocking a low-budget Australian film and whilst I do my best to support the Australian film industry, I can’t recommend Footy Legends.  After the preview screening I attended, I overheard an elderly couple talking.  The husband said to his wife “well I’m glad that was a free one”.  My sentiments exactly.