SFF Opening Night Film Review: Not Suitable For Children (2012)

On a very wet Sydney evening, 2000 industry types and movie lovers gathered at the State Theatre for the world premier of Peter Templeman’s Not Suitable For Children and to launch the 59th annual Sydney Film Festival.

First time SFF director Nashen Moodley gave a delightfully brief introduction, stating he’d “much rather be watching films than talking about them” before handing it over to an hilarious Templeman who acknowledged just how tough he expected the film’s audience to be. He assured us, comparing NSFC to the opening night after party, that the ending would be better.

I caught up with Templeman (or rather bumped into him and was suddenly conducting an interview) and asked him how close he was to the subject matter. He is a father of two children (both by accident, joking “I didn’t want it [fatherhood]”) and made the film for he and his friends and to reflect his memories of share housing and parties in his 20s. “Icon are marketing it to women aged 17-35” which seemed to perturb him a little but it is ultimately a romantic comedy.

Ryan Kwanten (now of True Blood fame) who auditioned for Templeman (“and he auditioned me as well” added the director) is Jonah, a party boy in his 20s who re-evaluates his purpose in life when testicular cancer threatens to render him infertile. Suddenly desperate to make a baby, he asks several ex-girlfriends and casual partners if they’d consider getting pregnant in the next three weeks.

Jonah lives with Stevie (Sarah Snook) – the word of reason in the household and Gus (Ryan Corr) who is only interested in throwing massive parties and making a profit. All three were well cast, and definitely feed off each other, but considering the prestige of its premier, how does this film fare in the current Australian cinema climate? Share house films are always trying to get off the ground in this country and here we have a kind of silly premise that plays out pretty safe and unimaginatively. The ending isn’t amazing but logical and obvious. When we’re lamenting the loss of our independent film industry, what does this ultra-hipster flick bring aside from a few laughs and some raunchy sex scenes?

My interview with Templeman was cut-off at the after party before I could grill him about just how he would like Not Suitable For Children to be stand in his local industry but he is likely to enjoy some success considering the warm reception he received for his first feature on Wednesday night.


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