While Australian comedies have, in recent times, proven a sad and sorry lot, That’s Not Me is a now-rare exception, with a strain of genuine humour running throughout, even if it’s often of a neurotic, even traumatic sort.
Married couple Gregory Erdstein and Alice Foulcher (who met at the Victorian College of The Arts Film School) make their feature debut here, with him directing, both of them co-writing and co-producing and Foulcher impressively starring as the lead.
Polly Cuthbert (Foulcher) is an aspiring actress trying to make it in Melbourne but hamstrung by the fact that her twin sister Amy (also Foulcher, when we see her) is an actress as well, and she just keeps on getting the big breaks. When Polly rejects a role in Summer Street, a ghastly-looking TV show that deliberately looks awfully like Home & Away, and Amy grabs it (she has no PC qualms about playing a lovelorn albino woman), it makes Amy a proper star, and poor Polly starts to lose it in at times uncomfortably funny style.
No one seems to understand either, from her well-meaning parents (Andrew S. Gilbert and Catherine Hill) and her cool roommate Ariel (Belinda Misevski) to her mean agent Patricia (Janine Watson) and her long-suffering boss Anthony (Steve Mouzakis) at her dull cinema job. After a hook-up with the pretentiously self-absorbed and wannabe-theatrical Oliver (Rowan Davie), Polly’s finally had enough and jets off to Hollywood to try her luck, where she winds up sharing a flat with Zoe (Isabel Lucas), who’s in a rage after missing out on a part in an all-female remake of Jaws.
Never looking cheap despite a reportedly very low budget, this is nicely anchored by Foulcher’s committed performance as Polly, as she makes a character that could have been seriously painful seem surprisingly amiable. She’s also strong as Amy, who we don’t see until quite late in the action. And don’t worry, as this is no ‘Evil Twin’ horror pic like Sisters or Dead Ringers, although it must be said that Amy is a bit of a bitch.
The in-jokes are pretty priceless too, with talk of a fake David Lynch movie and a series of titles that might have cropped up in Seinfeld, harsh jabs at Jared Leto and Polly’s line, “I never really watch Australian films”. Well, good thing she’s not in one then!
Rated MA. That’s Not Me is in cinemas now