Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Chris Ionitis
Here’s further proof that I will go and see just about anything at the cinema.
Joffa The Movie is part documentary and part mockumentary about Jeff “Joffa” Corfe, the charismatic and flamboyant Collingwood supporter who dons the iconic gold lame jacket emblazoned with the words “GAME OVER” whenever it is apparent that Collingwood has won the football match. A colourful and “love him or hate him” character, Joffa is a fanatical Collingwood supporter and passionate member of the club’s cheer squad, and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
But not much is known about him beyond football. And quite frankly, this documentary doesn’t reveal all that much. A couple of interviews with the man himself informs us that his daughter is Aboriginal, that he has close connections with the indigenous community at Lake Tyers, and is involved in some sort of charity work with homeless people.
But after merely scratching the surface, debut writer/director Chris Ionitis then stretches the thin material out to feature length by opting to turn Joffa’s life into a lacklustre and misguided Kenny-style mockumentary, full of larrikin humour, themes of mateship, and lame attempts at comedy.
Ionitis follows Joffa and his best mate, the hapless Shane McRae, as they operate their second rate lawn mowing operation in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. The knockabout pair also do casual labour jobs for one of his mates on a couple of building sites. This allows some opportunities for slapstick humour, but the banter and antics of this pair make the infantile and laboured local comedy You And Your Stupid Mate seem sophisticated by comparison.
Ionitis has been hamstrung by the limitations of his minuscule $200,000 budget. He has been unable to have a long rehearsal period nor the luxury of extensive re-shoots, and consequently much of the film seems improvised and unpolished. However, there is a journey to London allowing Joffa to visit Celtic United’s home ground. There are also appearances from Father Bob McGuire, who appears to be a good sport in allowing himself to be part of the film, while football commentator Kevin Bartlett participates in one amusing moment.
“The whole thing has been terribly embarrassing,” says a rueful Joffa at one point, talking about his association with Shane. What can one add to this refreshingly honest appraisal? The whole thing is embarrassingly awful and amateurish, and painful to watch.
In fact, the only thing more excruciating than sitting through this film would be to endure watching Collingwood win another premiership.