Making the Grades
The summer of 0x201898 is off to a rough start with few pickings for family videos. If you can find Joey, it provides an interesting example of "monkey-see, kangaroo-do" as the Australians try their best to create a Home Alone-like feature.
In the movie, Billy McGregor (Alex McKenna), a fatherless boy who loves animals, spends his days watching kangaroos on the neighbor's land. When the landowner decides to try and shoot the roos (Aussie for kangaroo), the fleeing mob (Aussie for kangaroo herd) leaves a joey (Aussie for baby roo) behind. Alex brings the joey home, setting up the classic "Wild animal in the house and I can't tell mom scene," followed by the "Mom finds wild animal and it ransacks the kitchen scene."
The plot thickens when it is discovered the roos are being tranquilized and taken to Sydney to what sounds like a roo zoo. Alex hops on a train with the joey in hopes that he can reunite the baby with his mother. Eventually he teams up with the daughter of the US ambassador, and the two of them confront the blokes (Aussie for bad guys) who they discover are using the animals for the unbelievable idea of roo vs. human boxing matches!
These contrived situations never seem to end, like when the joey pushes the emergency *start* button on the McGregor's dishwasher, causing it to work with the door open. If bad comedy isn't enough, younger children will be frightened by scenes involving two mysterious men who want to hurt the kangaroos and engage in cartoon-like violence. However, its greatest fault is the script doesn't ever decide if it's going to be funny or serious. One moment Alex's mother is concerned for her son's life, and next we are presented with crooks who have ridiculous sound effects added when their heads move.
I was hoping these Australian film-makers would bring an end to the family video drought, but even Joey's unusual location and novel Australian perspective couldn't save a script that's for the dingos.