Daydream Believer

(Kathy Mueller, Australia, 1992)


This Australian film is a mighty odd item. Written by Saturday Rosenberg and directed by Kathy Mueller – whose ’80s shorts (Finishing Touches, Everynight Everynight) promised an interesting path that has sadly not materialised – this movie is hard to make out. The impulses that gave rise to it seem to have been scrambled somewhere along the way.

Essentially, the film aspires to be a screwball comedy in the vein of Bringing Up Baby (1938), with two klutzy, ill-starred lovers (Miranda Otto and Martin Kemp), and a bunch of horses who represent both the cute and wild sides of human nature.

Onto this basic structure is spliced some strained gender bending during Ladies Nights at a sleazy strip joint, and an old Monkees hit of dubious pertinence.

But that’s not the half of it. In flashes that are as fleeting as they can possibly be, we learn that the heroine pretends to be a horse at moments of stress because of a childhood history of domestic abuse. Was this the initial dramatic premise that got distorted into weak comedy?

For a film that more successfully manages to juggle a volatile cocktail of romance, pratfalls, animals and sexual danger, seek out Bob Rafelson’s underrated Man Trouble (1992).

© Adrian Martin October 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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