Film Review: 'Goddess'

★★☆☆☆
When done right, nothing gets people out of their seats and dancing down the aisles (or in their living rooms) than a well-executed sing-a-long. In recent years, thanks to the success of Mamma Mia!, the musical has had something of a renaissance. Mark Lamprell's Goddess (2013), an Australian-produced effort based on the stage show Sinksongs, is the latest to try to grab the hearts of musical lovers. In it, despondent housewife Elspeth (Laura Michelle Kelly) is fed up of life. She's been denied her dreams of becoming a due to her husband, James (former Boyzone star Ronan Keating), continuously called away in his job as a marine biologist (!?), leaving her to care for their twin sons.

The solution to the couple's marital woes? A webcam. While Elspeth is supposed to be using the device to communicate with her whale-loving husband, she utilises it to become an overnight internet singing sensation and is quickly offered the job of a lifetime in Sydney. However, somewhat predictably this grand dream isn't all it's cracked up to be and soon Elspeth is fighting to save her marriage. Director Lamprell certainly keeps the energy flowing during the course of his well-intentioned film, with sweeping crane shots galore and lush views of the Australian countryside. Yet past this, Goddess suffers from some pretty average choreography and dance numbers. The music is catchy enough, but hampered by the lip-sync problems that persist throughout the dance sequences feel flat and uninventive.

The film's saving grace is Kelly, who adds some much-needed enthusiasm and vitality. Fresh from a successful stint as Mary Poppins on the London stage, she makes an excellent impression here and is sure to find better work out there in the future. Graceful and controlled, she's easily the highlight. Keating, meanwhile, looks completely out of his depth here, and not even his massive musical popularity can help him save face. The key demographic Lamprell aims for here will certainly get some joy out of it - particularly the site of Keating's perk posterior. Outside of that, however - and despite its good intentions - it's hard to see this Ozzie offering appealing to wide audience, and may well be something that appeals more on home viewing. An honourable effort for the genre, but Goddess falls disappointingly short of greatness.

Scott Davis

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