Brendan Cowell’s movie from his own stage play has a decent idea in its' centre: Australia’s drinking culture compounds the difficulties of alcoholism. Unfortunately this is expressed in a stagey, lazy, inconsistent screenplay populated almost exclusively by arseholes – none moreso than self-entitled ad man Ruben (Patrick Brammel, giving his best in spite of the material), who ends up at the bottom of his luxury pool with broken bones after partying a bit too hard for a way too long, and is forced to re-evaluate his life. He attempts to live sober for a year, but this turns out to be more difficult than expected, as nearly every one of his friends and family begs or tries to coerce him back to the boozer's lifestyle he’s always known.
For every valid point Cowell makes, he undoes any good work by placing us in the company of utter wankers – even when he’s sober, Ruben's an unlikeable prick, and by the film's end we wish he'd just drowned in that opening scene, and saved everyone a lot of time.
RUBEN GUTHRIE is released July 16 in Australia.