SIFF Review: ‘Hot Mess’

This Australian film Hot Mess was billed as a “laugh-a-minute slacker comedy.”  Because the Aussies are such a light-hearted, happy people on the whole, I did expect a laugh a minute, but I was disappointed with this film in that regard.  The humor is obviously aimed at younger generations than my own; I found the sexual dialogue so extremely crude, it was hard for me to continue watching.  Also hard to watch is the main character Loz’s sad attempts to get by in life as both a playwright and a young woman seeking a real relationship with a man instead of her usual “poke and prod.”  When she actually finds Dave, an attractive and humorous ex-Jehovah Witness, she believes he’s “The One,” but trying to keep him is another matter.  This film has young adult angst oozing from its pores.

Despite the fact that I did not enjoy the film, the main actress Sarah Gaul is convincing as a not-very-attractive-nor-very-polished young woman in the agonizing 21st century dating arena.  Her social ineptitude is painful to observe, and yet it rings true for those multitudes of modern women who have not been gifted with a Jessica Alba body nor a wit to match.  (And analogously, for those multitudes of men who do not have a Dwayne Johnson body, etc.)  We hope that younger generations than my own baby-boomer generation will watch Loz’s efforts with sympathy, as the film intends, though I suspect some viewers will bolster their own fragile egos by laughing at her abortive attempts to belong and be loved.  Those who are in the same boat as Loz may find comfort in someone who may be socially more awkward than they are, or find hope, because, in the end she does not give up.  That said, this is definitely a movie for twenty- and thirty-somethings, and not for their moms, dads, and grandparents.

Also note:  there is an American movie by the same title, but they are not related.

This movie was reviewed as part of coverage for the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

By Karen Samdahl
Related categories: Movie Reviews, SIFF