It has always been easy for Australian audiences to relate to Stephen Curry. In The Castle, he was the loveable son who liked to dig holes; in Thunderstruck, he was the reluctant rock star too attached to his mediocre grocery-store job.
True to his form, Curry encapsulates the token Australian male once more in Boyd Hicklin’s debut feature film Save Your Legs. Like so many of the patrons who will most likely be drawn to this film, Curry’s character Teddy lives and breathes cricket.
Save Your Legs is the story of a D-grade club cricket team, granted the dream of touring India. The film invokes many experiences common to cricketers and Australians expats; there’s plenty of drinking, a heavy dose of food poisoning, and a fair bit of self-reflection. The main theme of the film, however, is Teddy’s unhealthy love for cricket and his subsequent lack of perspective.
While one doesn’t have to be a cricket fanatic to enjoy Save Your Legs, it certainly helps. Club cricketers will appreciate the Ricky Ponting gags and find Teddy’s batting innings both excruciating and hilarious. But the cake for the quirkiest cricket reference easily goes to an Indian brass group, whose rendition of the Wide World of Sports theme will become the ringtone of the summer.
Not all cricket fanatics will love this film, but most will take something from it – particularly given the film’s timely summer release date. Loyal viewers of Channel Nine’s slow-motion highlights packages won’t take much time to adjust to Save Your Legs’ cricket montages. Indeed, the cricket games which unravel on the silver screen are captivating enough to elicit oohs and aahs from particularly engaged audience members.
While Teddy’s sincerity is believable throughout, the sentimentality of his mates – namely Damon Gameau’s obnoxious Stavros – is unfortunately not. The relationships and conversations between the teammates occasionally appear manufactured and unconvincing, while the film’s turning points are embroiled with clichés. In other words, Save Your Legs tries too hard to be a soppy drama when it has enough content to stand on its own as a comedy.
Thankfully, the lack of creativity in the storyline is compensated by some beautiful cinematography and plenty of cricket-friendly gags. India’s colourful landscape is a character in its own right; Save Your Legs will no doubt push India into the itinerary of some people’s travel plans. The film’s greatest asset though is found in Curry’s reliable performance and the plethora of cricket in-jokes, which cater directly to the audience for whom this film was made.
Save Your Legs is in Australian cinemas from 28 February through Madman Films.