Movie review: Mental, starring Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber

PJ Hogan, 15, 116mins

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The Independent Culture

It’s nearly 20 years since  P J Hogan had a debut hit with Muriel’s Wedding, and this dysfunctional Aussie comedy is a very obvious attempt to recapture that feel-good spirit.

It even stars Toni Collette again, this time playing an eccentric force of nature whose straight-talking common sense proves vital in restoring a broken family.

The Moochmore girls are five in number – there the resemblance to Jane Austen’s Bennets ends – with a mother (Rebecca Gibney) who yearns for normality and a philandering politician father (Anthony LaPaglia) who can’t even remember his daughters’ names.

They all consider themselves “mental” until Shaz (Collette) enters their lives and gives them a sense of direction. The playing is way too broad, the script is all over the place, and its chaotic last half-hour must stretch even the best will in the world.