Any Questions for Ben?
|Any Questions for Ben?|
|Directed by||Rob Sitch|
|Produced by||Rob Sitch
|Screenplay by||Rob Sitch
|Edited by||Stuart Morley
|Distributed by||Roadshow Films|
|Box office||$2.8 million|
Any Questions for Ben? is a 2012 Australian comedy film created by Working Dog Productions, directed by Rob Sitch. It stars Josh Lawson, Rachael Taylor, Felicity Ward, Daniel Henshall and Christian Clark. It was written by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch.
When high-flying 27-year-old Melbourne based brand manager Ben (Josh Lawson) returns to his old high school to talk to students about careers, he reunites with other former students including international human rights lawyer Alexis (Rachael Taylor), now working with the United Nations in Yemen, and Olympic archery medallist Jim (Ed Kavalee). Ben soon realises that compared to the other speakers, no one is interested in what a brand manager does, and when questions are asked for, all are directed at the other presenters while Ben gets none. This causes Ben to begin to consider the meaning behind his current lifestyle, and commences a year-long reevaluation of his priorities, looking in all the wrong places, but ultimately involving the gradual pursuit of Alexis as a serious love-interest for the first time in his life.
- Josh Lawson as Ben
- Rachael Taylor as Alexis (Alex)
- Daniel Henshall as Nick
- Felicity Ward as Emily
- Christian Clark as Andy
- Lachy Hulme as Sam
- Ed Kavalee as Jim
- David James as Malcolm
- Jodi Gordon as Kelly
- Rob Carlton as Ben's dad
- Tracy Mann as Ben's mum
- Alan Brough as Ken
- Liliya May as Katerina Sinova
- Chantelle Raleigh as Fleur
- Claudia Hruschka as Aleesha
- Emma-Louise Wilson as Katey
- Rob Sitch as Principal
- Sean Lynch as Balloon Assistant
- John Howard as priest
The film was released on 9 February 2012. It posted a modest opening weekend at the local box office which grossed $608,731 for Roadshow on 235 screens, giving it a screen average of $2,590. By the end of the first week, the film had grossed only A$917,000. By the end of its cinema run in Australia, the film had grossed only A$1.53 million, leaving the film a box-office failure when compared to the previous two feature films produced by Working Dog, namely The Castle (1997) which earnt over $10 million and The Dish (2000) which grossed almost $18 million. Overall, the film ranked 102 on the list of most successful films at the Australian box-office in 2012.
The film received lukewarm reviews. Leigh Paatsch, writing in the Melbourne Herald-Sun, felt that the film's strongest point was the banter between the characters which was funny and engaging. But Paatsch said that Lawson's central performance was marred at times by "an air of self-satisfied smarm" and the character's path to enlightenment was un-focused and un-convincing. He concluded, "And I sense that others who similarly fell hard for the soulful sincerity of The Castle and The Dish will feel a little quizzical about the comparative slickness of Any Questions for Ben? ".
Tom Ryan in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that the film was often very funny and singled out Rachael Taylor's performance for praise – "the camera loves her". But as a romance, Ryan felt that film failed to convince. "The problem for the film-makers is maintaining dramatic interest whilst he [central character Ben] sorts out his quarter-life crisis. Their solutions, alas, aren't especially satisfying. And the endless montages of Melbourne [...] make our city look beautiful [...] but contribute nothing."
Sandra Hall, in the Melbourne Age, said that the film was bright and shiny and made Melbourne appear "dressed up in candy colours" but the film's attempts to generate humour were laboured and desperate, with an over-reliance on musical montages. "The whole thing made me nostalgic for Working Dog's sharper days".
Luke Buckmaster, writing on Crikey, was scathing in his review, saying the film had "blobs of writer's block offal masquerading as a storyline" along with an implausible relationship at its centre with no emotional connection between the two leads. "Working Dog have made precisely that – a dog".
However, Jim Schembri, also writing in the Age, praised the film as "very enjoyable, character-rich and thoughtful".
- Schembri, Jim (9 February 2012). "Any Questions for Ben?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Any Questions For Ben?". Official site. Village Cinemas. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- Wilson, Jake (9 February 2012). "Any Questions for Ben?". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- "Do you have Any Questions for Ben? Probably not". news.com.au. 16 February 2012.
- "Any Questions for Ben?". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Any Questions for Ben? review". The Age. Melbourne.
- "Any Questions for Ben? movie review Jim Schembri The Age SMH". The Age. Melbourne.
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