Starring: Grigor Taylor, Joseph Bottoms, Judy Davis, Wendy Hughes
Director: Igor Auzins
Distributor: Roadshow Entertainment
Extras: AFTRS short film ‘A Horse With Stripes’
To see Judy Davis in her first screen role is to understand why she could very well be Australia’s answer to Katherine Hepburn. Not that her character, Lynn or ‘Spunkbubble’, in the road movie High Rolling is anywhere near as refined as Hepburn’s early roles but in it Davis displays that distinctive firey gumption that has made her subsequent parts so memorable.
Lynn is a gawky teen picked up hitch-hiking by the randy yank Tex (Joseph Bottoms) and his Aussie side-kick Alby (Grigor Taylor). “Freaked out by civilisation”, she’s off to join a commune or maybe even become a prostitute. Instead she gets behind the wheel of a lime green Corvette and gives its radial tyres a real burn out. The sexy car belongs to Arnold (John Clayton) who coped it sweet when he tried to give Alby more than just a friendly rumble in a roadside motel. And in its boot is a stash of “Mary-Jane”, providing the guys with all the dosh they need to get some new threads and cut a swathe through Surfers Paradise.
In an absolutely hilarious turn Wendy Hughes and Sandy McGregor play ‘Sugar and Spice’, saucy dancers at a strip club who make the boys fairly drool when they perform an erotic rendition of Donna Summer’s ’70s hit ‘Love To Love You Baby’; a mime act reminiscent of the Abba duet in Muriel’s Wedding.
Screenwriter and former panel beater Forrest Redlich delivers up a fairly predictable road movie with homoerotic moments that descend into heterosexual hell complete with lesbian fantasies. But director Igor Auzins (We of the Never Never) and cinematographer Dan Burstall lay on the production values so that at the very least it looks slick. At times you cry out for more Judy and less Sherbert (they supply most of the soundtrack including the catchy theme song). But this is a buddy flick and, in keeping with that genre, chicks take a place firmly in the back seat.