Title: Oddball (2015)
Director: Stuart McDonald (Stranded)
Cast: Shane Jacobson, Coco Jack Gillies, Sarah Snook, Alan Tudyk, Deborah Mailman
Plot: Oddball Australian chicken farmer Alan “Swampy” Marsh (Jacobson) enlists the help of his granddaughter Olivia (Gillies) to train one of his maremma sheep dogs to protect a local penguin colony that is on the verge of extinction thanks to a group of pesky foxes.
“If you want the biscuit you got to risk it”
Review by Eddie on 15/01/2016
A loveable based on a true story family movie that’s partly filmed in one of the worlds most naturally beautiful locations and most liveable cities (no bias here at all) in the form of regional Australian city Warrnambool, Oddball is a film that’s enjoyable for the young and young at heart and one of the better Australian feel good stories in some time.
A huge success at the local Australian box office in the later half of 2015, and in particular in the town of Warrnambool where Oddball played at the local cinema for 3 months, Oddball’s the type of film even the biggest of movie grouches will have fun with despite its slight narrative and overacting from a talented cast.
A dramatisation of eccentric chicken farmer and genuine “oddball” Alan ‘swampy’ Marsh, Oddball sees one of Australia’s great larrikin characters Shane Jacobson inhabit the overalls of the great bearded man who developed the ingenious idea of using Maremma sheep dogs to protect a local fairy penguin colony that had been decimated by pesky foxes.
It’s a unique scenario but not one that exactly makes for thrilling viewing and Oddball’s major struggles come from trying to draw dramatic tension from a simple idea that just doesn’t have the cinematic qualities of other such true tales. Well respected actors Sarah Snook (breakout star of Predestination), Alan Tudyk and even Australian comedy legend Frank Woodley all feel a little lost with some pretty lame supporting characters.
Oddball flys on the back of Jacobson’s work, young actress Coco Jack Gillies likability, the great locations and of course the loveable animals that make penguins and fluffy dogs even more adorable than one would’ve thought possible.
A film that’s appropriate for all ages and a tale that has appeal for animal lovers the world over, Oddball is a slight yet wholeheartedly enjoyable Australian film that’s likely to become a new favourite of the youngest members of the family and an Australian film that holds a more universal appeal than the average homegrown movie.
3 Great Ocean Road shots out of 5
For more on the true story of Oddball and how it came to the big screen read our interview with film producer Stephen Kearney here.