This Australian coming-of-age comedy/drama features SECRETS AND LIES star Brenda Blethyn as Jeannie, a semi-monstrous mom who gave up a promising career as a British comic to move Down Under and marry a one-hit wonder country singer. One of her two sons is mentally handicapped (Richard Wilson); the other is a sensitive kid named Tim (Kham Chittenden), whose sexual maturity has been waylaid by his clingy mom's fear of being abandoned again (her husband--understandably--left her). He's got to look after his brother and drive Mom to her local club gigs as she attempts a comeback. Complications arise when Tim meets Jill (Emma Booth), a girl cute and bright enough to be worth standing up to his mother for. Director Cherie Nowlan stages the ensuing family fracas in the style of Australia's and England's past working-class comedy hits, like MURIEL'S WEDDING and LIFE IS SWEET. This suits the larger-than-life talents of Blethyn just fine: over the top is her natural habitat and here she inhabits it body and soul. The broad comic strokes are nicely balanced by some subtle shading in the sensitive romance between Tim and his Jill. Chittenden is very likeable, and his sensitivity makes a nice foil for the histrionics on display. Still, it's Blethyn's show all the way (she also wrote much of her own stand-up material), and fans of her work in the films of Mike Leigh will be happy with the warm, improvisatory feel of much of INTRODUCING THE DWIGHTS (or CLUBLAND as it's known in Australia).
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