“Sweethurt” is a scruffy, fitfully-amusing Aussie indie that’s basically a soundtrack in search of a better rom-com.
It’s a post-breakup farce set to the music of The Skategoats, Midimachine, The Struts, Better Luck Next Time and Third Eye Blind. Yeah, Tom Danger’s picture is nostalgic for the ’90s, when Alt Rock was a thing and naming your band Harvey Danger (No relation, I trust?) was considered cool.
Two years ago, Jacob (Rav Raynayake) broke up with teacher Olivia (Alannah Robertson), and she’s still in his nightmares. He dreams he’s the biggest kid in her class, propeller beanie cap, confessing his love and regret, mocked for it by the other kids.
“Yer gonna die ALONE!” the little Bruces and Sheilas shout. And maybe they’re right. His grandpa did.
Jacob is sent on a road trip to Broken Bay to see to some of his late grandpa’s affairs — settle up bar tabs, etc. Mate Mike (Mehdy Salameh) comes along, as does buddy Drew (co-writer Logan Webster).
And much to Drew’s horror, Jacob’s blonder-than-blonde and “thirsty” teen sister Abby (Sam Germain) is along as well. She’s not the least bit subtle in her Drew lust.
Meanwhile, out in Broken Bay, Skye (Tyra Cartledge) is bingeing on “wine cream” — red wine soaked tubs of Neapolitan ice cream — and worryting and irking her “68% gay” (based on her sexual encounters history) roomie Carly (Rhiann Marquez).
“Best way to get over someone is to do ‘anal’ with a stranger,” she offers, helpfully.
What “Sweethurt” boils down to is pointing these randos — dorky looking guys who are usually the writer/director’s alter ego and a collection of impossibly beautiful young women — into each other in a new variation of the endless male cinematic wish fulfillment fantasy, this time with “shrimp on the barbie” accents.
That’s not literally true here, as Tom Danger has a cameo (a bartender) and he’s blonder and fitter than virtually anybody he cast. But the formula’s the same as it ever was.
Funny stuff flits around the edges of these more genial-than-comical leads. The frantic Max (Dylan Lee) shows up at the dead grandpa’s door with a goat in his arms, a panicked look on his face and a tale of a date that ended badly and a cult’s goat sacrifice interrupted.
Olivia happens to be in Broken Bay, too, setting up Jacob’s confession that he’s got “absolutely no soul crushing regrets.” That’ll win her back.
And there’s an impromptu rave, with lots of tunes from the aforementioned bands energizing it. Kind of.
Death and mortality hang over this, but not in any elegantly-managed way.
All of which adds up to an odd funny scene, the rarer funny line, and a lot more reasons to self-Spotify the soundtrack than sit and wait for “Sweethurt” to get better.
Rating: unrated, profanity, sexual situations
Cast: Rav Ratnayake, Tyra Cartledge, Rhiaan Marquez, Mehdy Salameh, Sam Germain, Alannah Robertson, Dylan Lee and Logan Webster
Credits: Directed by Tom Danger, scripted by Tom Danger and Logan Webster. A Gravitas Ventures release.
Running time: 1:32