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Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Australia' falls flat by borrowing from the classics

Hugh Jackman, a resourceful, good-humored star with the Old School knack for playing rugged and courtly, has just been named People'sSexiest Man Alive. Nicole Kidman, who can be an imposing woman of action (see the thriller Dead Calm), has become a critical favorite for her daring and accomplishment. For my money she was the Sexiest Woman Alive, if only for a few brief moments, in the Baltimore-shot Invasion.

These gifted Australians should have been sensational together as lovers in the sprawling Australia. Without the material to make their intimacy tingle or their passion explode, they seem what they are in real life - just good friends, albeit here, friends with benefits.

And Australia, set in Australia's Northern Territory, a land of romance and adventure, should have been a terrific epic, but instead is a lavish family time-killer. If Disney still made live-action holiday spectaculars, this could have been a Disney film.

Unfolding from 1939 to 1942, it contains episodes of sweeping adventure, such as a half-dozen drovers heading up a 1,500-head cattle drive, a Japanese attack on the port city of Darwin, and the daring rescue of dozens of orphans from a bombed-out island mission. continue...

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