Lex and Rory

(Dean Murphy, Australia, 1994)


Viewers and critics unfamiliar with rather distinctive conventions of the teen movie genre are likely to find aspects of Lex and Rory puzzlingly unreal.

A contemporary teenager who croons Perry Como tracks? Corey Haim established this retro-taste in License to Drive (1988). A pair of lads who appear to live in their very own techno-playhouse without parental supervision? Remember, Christian Slater launched a brilliant career as a pirate radio broadcaster from the confines of his family bedroom in Pump Up the Volume (1990).

Director Dean Murphy and his collaborators appear to know the genre pretty well. The film mixes a love story born over the phone – with Lex (Angus Benfield) hiding his true identity, like a teen Cyrano de Bergerac – with a string of silly physical gags reminiscent of the oeuvre of Savage Steve Holland (Better off Dead, 1985).

A strangely misplaced piece of melodrama between Lex's true love Dai (Fiona MacGregor) and her forbidding father (Stewart Faichney) gives the project a touch of Twin Peaks (1991).

Since this is an Australian teen movie, however, it has a pleasingly daggy, down-to-earth mood. The endless New Age affirmations about chasing one's dreams and becoming a success might sound OK in an American celebration of sporting success, but here they seem a mite contrived.

Lex and Rory works better as a modest celebration of the joys of suburban life, in the vein of charmingly low-key teen movies such as Seven Minutes in Heaven (1985) – complete with a spotlight trained on Lex and Dai as they kiss on a front lawn, and a snazzy red car to take all the main characters away to the big city in the final shot.

MORE Murphy: Strange Bedfellows

MORE Australian teens: The Still Point, Secrets, BMX Bandits, The Heartbreak Kid, Looking for Alibrandi

© Adrian Martin September 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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