Review: Crackers (1998)

With the release of Australian Christmas movies, particularly comedies, being few and far between, Crackers has slowly worked its way into more living rooms during the festive season since its theatrical run almost twenty years ago. However, it does remain somewhat of an obscure title, one that’s unfortunately difficult to locate on DVD.

Encompassing the antics of a colourful and very Aussie suburban family, our story centres around young Joey Dredge, who is spending Christmas at his grandparents with his mother Hilary, accompanied by her boyfriend, Bruno, and his bully of a son, Angus. Suffice it to say, chaos quicky ensues.

Much like The Castle which wholeheartedly celebrates working-class life, there are many instances while watching Crackers are hilariously familiar, particularly having to deal with the blistering heat of an Australian summer, on top of the stress that ironically comes with the holidays. Much of the film’s comedy relies on the lingo and behaviour of our characters, most of whom are stereotypical, but relatable to audiences nonetheless. From the explosive demise of a beloved pet dog to extreme lengths of eradicating vermin, there are moments throughout that have an almost Looney Tunes-type nuance about them, such as exaggerated sound effects coupled with physical gestures, adding to the film’s over-the-top nature. Daniel Kellie is suited as the rascally Joey, a boy struggling to come to terms with his father’s passing, but forms a bond with his great grandfather, Albert, played by legendary British comedic actor, Warren Mitchell, a quintessential scene-stealer to say the least.

Endlessly quotable and laugh-out-loud funny, you could argue that Crackers is Australia’s answer to Christmas Vacation (or the closest we’ll get to having one), with 90 minutes of an imperfect family Christmas that enables us to look at ourselves without experiencing slight embarrassment and enjoying the qualities that make us Aussies unique.

(1998, dir: David Swann)



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