Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Dean Murphy
Stars: Shane Jacobson, Paul Hogan, Jimeoin, Tim Ferguson, Marty Fields, Stephen Hall, Fiona O’Loughlin, Ron Jacobson.
The affable Shane Jacobson (whose previous film The BBQ was a massive disappointment and a laboured and unfunny comedy that failed to fire up) threw a massive party at his father’s property in Clarkeville, in regional Victoria. He invited along thirty of Australia’s top comics to share in the joy of joke telling and laughter. He provided all the meat and beer, all the guests had to provide was their funniest jokes. Guests included Paul Hogan, Jimeoin, Marty Fields, Stephen Hall, Fiona O’Loughlin and Tim Ferguson, amongst many others.
The whole night was captured on film by filmmaker Dean Murphy, who directed both Jacobson and Hogan in the road comedy Charlie And Boots. Murphy adopts a free-flowing style here as the camera roams around the party, recording the jokes and the camaraderie. Gags fly thick and fast throughout the relatively brisk 89-minute running time. Each of the guests are given their moment to shine, but some seem to get more screen time than others. Some of the jokes may be familiar, but the veteran comics also put a fresh spin on the gags. And the musical accompaniment to the evening was provided by a bevy of musical acts, including The Black Sorrows, Russell Morris, Adam Brand and Dan Kelly.
That’s Not My Dog is like spending an informal evening in the company of these comics as they enjoy each other’s company and eavesdropping on their funny stories in a somewhat relaxed setting. Everyone seemed to be having a ball. Jacobson’s father Ron comes across as a pretty good story teller himself, but his energy seems to be flagging by the end of the night. The whole thing was filmed over one long night, shot by cinematographer Robert Lanser (who shot Murphy’s Charlie And Boots). Then Murphy and his editor Robert Mond patiently worked through the footage to tighten up the material and remove jokes that were repetitious or potentially too crude or offensive.
One of the big distractions in the film is the blatant product placement, although this is probably how Jacobson and Murphy gained the funding for this low budget film and extravagant evening.
Depending on personal taste though some of the humour will be hit or miss. The title itself comes from the punch line to a classic joke that was used in a Pink Panther movie. For me the highlights were Marty Fields and his stream on clever and witty one-liners and a great joke about a woman joining the CIA.
And while a generally entertaining film, That’s Not My Dog is not great cinema. However, it will be best enjoyed in the cinema where audiences can share the experience and the humour with others, as laughter is often infectious. But it will also do well when released on DVD, where you can re-watch and listen to your favourite jokes over again.