The singing mum – Goddess review

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By Jess Lomas
March 12, 2013

It’s clear from the moment Goddess begins that writer-director Mark Lamprell (My Mother Frank) wants his audience to have a good time. There’s a high level of energy that doesn’t dissipate but seems to elevate uncontrollably, and by the time the final scene arrives one might feel as though they are watching a Hi-5 concert, complete with “jazz hands.” Based on Joanna Weinberg’s successful one-woman stage show Sink Songs (she shares a co-writing credit here with Lamprell), this overly ambitious musical is ultimately sweet at its core, trading believability for whimsy.

Goddess follows country housewife and mother of twin boys, Elspeth Dickens (Laura Michelle Kelly), whose husband James (Ronan Keating) is largely absent due to his job tracking and recording whales. As the pressures of motherhood weigh down on Elspeth, James sets off on another expedition and gives her a webcam to stay in touch. Elspeth soon finds another use for the webcam, positioning it above her kitchen sink, setting up an el-cheapo website, and drawing a questionably large audience for some underwhelming songs about the trials of being a mum. She even gets the local, snobby mothers’ group – consisting of Tamsin Carroll, Pia Miranda, Corinne Grant, and real-life YouTube sensation Natalie Tran – bopping along to her ditties.

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It’s not long before her songs find their way to bitchy advertising queen Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski), who intends to brand Elspeth the face of Goddess laptops and make her an international star. Of course, this means Elspeth must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the family waiting for her back home; because women, it seems, really can’t have it all.

Goddess fails largely in one key department: the songs. Save for the primary “Kitchen Sink” track, what follows is a mess of forgettable tunes set to a cheesy montage of nuns, airline staff, a royal princess, as well as Elspeth’s local community, tuning in and doing their best pantomime renditions of “enjoyment.” What succeeds are the performances of the two leads; West End and Broadway star Laura Michelle Kelly, who oozes charm with every line, and ex-boy band singer Ronan Keating, the biggest surprise on screen. Keating, speaking with his native accent, is charismatic and proves a natural for the rom-com genre. It doesn’t hurt that we’re treated to a glimpse of his derriere either.

2.5/5

Goddess arrives in Australian cinemas March 14, 2013.

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