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REVIEW: Get a Life, Alright (Theatrical release)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Most fans of romantic comedies are familiar with the tropes – the endearing first meeting, the beginning of an unlikely romance, and the antagonist, sometimes even a family member or friend, who stands in the way. In Get a Life, Alright, it’s all offered up to us in a neat little package.

The USP of this production, written by Shamini Singhal and Joy Hopwood, seems to be the diversity and representation at its core. For some, that aspect alone may not be enough to distinguish this film from its many rom-com predecessors, but for a lot of others, the range of (much-needed) colour onscreen will likely evoke smiles.

AT A GLANCE

  • Directed by: Joy Hopwood
  • Starring: Satish Kala, Abril Tolnay, Aileen Huynh, Dilshan Rain, Sukh Raj Deepak
  • Rating: * * *

In its opening scenes, Get a Life, Alright introduces us to the amiable Nick Singh (Satish Kala), an average young Australian working two jobs as he stumbles in his career to become an actor. He gets a lucky break after delivering flowers to the set of one of his favourite shows and in classic rom-com fashion, it sets the stage for his meet-cute with lead actress Tessa Wise (Abril Tolnay).

Their romance is complicated by her own trust issues as a public figure, as well as Nick’s brother Adarsh (Dilshan Rain), whose jealousy drives him to call the paparazzi on the couple to gain publicity for their struggling family restaurant. Without giving too much away, Get a Life, Alright is a film about women supporting women, dreaming big, and of course, celebrating love.

READ ALSO: Hungry, fighting, passionate: ‘Five Bedrooms’ actor Roy Joseph

Tess and Nick in Get a Life, Alright. Source: Instagram

Directed by Joy Hopwood, who previously directed the first Asian Australian rom-com Rhapsody of Love (2021), this film puts diversity and representation front and centre. In a particularly memorable scene, Tessa and her castmate Sarah Chen (Aileen Huynh) bring up the need for their show to reflect multicultural Australia, no doubt an experience many of us will have faced at some point, and are pleasantly surprised to face little backlash from the directors and writers. With that, the message is clear: there’s room in Australian cinema for more than one kind of story and actor.

It’s a message that seems to have resonated with international juries, winning Get a Life, Alright best drama at the Hong Kong Indie International Film Festival and selections at the Abbey Film Festival in London and the Santa Monica International Film Festival.

get a life alright
Satish Kala as Nick (left) with Sukh Raj Deepak as Ballu (centre) and Dilshan Rain as Adarsh (right). Source: IMDb

Admittedly Get a Life, Alright is a good-looking film that will grab audiences immediately. However, its message and visually appealing aesthetics aren’t enough to push through the frequent exposition to fill in the blanks. Here, it’s a classic case of ‘show us, don’t tell us’ that missed the mark. Early on, Nick’s father Ballu (Here Out West’s Sukhraj Deepak) tells us of the immigrant struggle to build a life in Australia, and then we’re reminded again, and again, as the film goes on.

Similarly, in a nod to Bollywood films, Get a Life, Alright intersperses musical numbers as part of Tessa’s show, with the music produced by Paul Wiltshire whose previous credits include Delta Goodrem and the Backstreet Boys. They’re an interesting gamble, but perhaps not one that translates this time around.

This is a film that could be a hit or a miss for audiences. Lovers of a good ol’ fashioned rom-com might enjoy it at face value, but others looking for a bit more nuance in an indie offering may be left wanting.

Get a Life, Alright releases 19 May at Dendy & Wallis cinemas across Australia.

READ ALSO: 11 new films releasing this May

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Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Sydney. In 2021, she was the winner of the Alan Knight Student Award (NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards)

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