Movie Review: Save Your Legs

Movie Review: Save Your Legs

Aussie-made cinema at its best

By Mark HadleyWednesday 27 Feb 2013MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

 'Save Your Legs' is Aussie-made cinema at its best

 

 

Rating: M
Distributor: Madman
Release Date: February 28, 2013 

Cricket is the perfect background for tales of childhood ambition. In every Australian generation there have been boys who’ve longed to grow up to be the next Donald Bradman, Dennis Lilley, Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting. Save Your Legs follows the trajectory of those dreams well into adulthood, and wonders when it’s a good time to wake up?

Stephen Curry of The Castle fame presents viewers with another quintessential Aussie man-child. Teddy Brown has been leading the charge at his suburban cricket club since he was in short trousers. He’s the most dedicated member of a Melbourne eleven who are all now on the wrong side of thirty.

Enthusiasm is beginning to flag, especially as key members like mates Rick (Brendan Cowell) and Stavros (Damon Gameau) start paying more attention to life off the pitch. However when an A-grade team drops out of an upcoming tour of India, Teddy sees an opportunity to live the dream of representing Australia. He sweet-talks Sanjeet the promoter and they set off on a trip that will showcase not only their lack of skill but their personal problems as well.

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Save Your Legs falls neatly into that category of quirky Australian comedy embracing titles like Strictly Ballroom, Priscilla and more recently Mental. This style’s stock in trade is the stereotype, so it’s not surprising that Rick is a boozer who most mornings is seedier than the grassy Indian ovals, or that Stavros is a ladies’ man with a penchant for peach shirts. Promoters have characterized Save Your Legs as “… an inspirational journey from the heart of Australia to the soul of India,” – which is largely marketing guff. This is not Muriel’s Wedding where the lessons line up next to the laughs. In fact the jokes are often as tired as the players, the plot as predictable as their losing streak. But Curry’s character is the redeeming factor: a man who is forced to come to the sobering realization that he has actually been ‘living the dream’ for about ten years too long.

On one of his lowest days Teddy is forced to put their promoter into bat because he’s benched his captain and his new-found star has signed a better deal. The result is not only a loss but an injury that puts Sanjeet in hospital. Teddy’s Indian love-interest Anjali happens to be the promoter’s daughter, and she decides to give the Aussie a piece of her mind:

 

Sanjeet: He was only fighting for what he believed in. 

Anjali: What he believes in? I’ll tell you what he believes in – that men can play games like little boys and never grow up.
 

– and in one scene Save Your Legs turns from a David-and-Goliath struggle into Pontius Pilate wake-up call. Jesus stood before that particular Roman potentate and asked him to recognize the truth of his situation, that he was the one who needed to be set free. Teddy is the tail-ender when it comes to realizing that their boyhood days are over and he has to start making adult choices. He tells his team:
 

“You only get one innings at life. There is a time to stop being a boy and start getting on with life.”

The film can’t resist the last minute victory that’s such a staple of its genre, but the clear implication in the title is that you have to ‘save your legs’ for the real game, the rest of your life. If it succeeds in making one viewer realize that sport is not the God they should be serving then that’s more wisdom than Wisden ever contained.