“You have your whales and your work”
An Australian musical rom-com starring Laura Michelle Kelly and Ronan Keating? Goddess is a strange beast indeed, based on a one-woman show by Joanna Weinberg and transferred to the screen with the help of Mark Lamprell, it did decent business in Australia in 2013 but didn’t make it over to these shores apparently. Which is a little surprising as it has a schlocky, amusing quality – somewhere between Mamma Mia and Muriel’s Wedding – that could well have found an audience, I think.
There’s no doubting the randomness – Kelly and Keating play Elspeth and James, a Anglo-Irish couple who have moved to Tasmania so that he can spend time saving whales, leaving her to deal with her loneliness and troublesome twin toddlers. To solve some of the problem, James get Elspeth a webcam so that they can chat and as one thing leads to another – as is so often the way – she ends up becoming an internet sensation as she broadcasts the songs she writes and performs at the kitchen sink.
Putting aside the very questionable technological aspects of the story – people might well not know how webcams work but I doubt they can manage to make one work remotely, at all hours, without a computer being on – there’s actually a rather cute story here about relationships and responsibilities, about the sacrifices we’re willing to make for our loved ones and the things we then expect back in return, and its nice to see a non-traditional but nevertheless loving take on motherhood from Weinberg here.
Kelly accomplishes herself in her first starring film role (although you can’t help but wonder if Australia is bereft of leading ladies), Keating (big in Australia due to being an X Factor judge) has little to do but look buff and occasionally bashful which he does with aplomb, it’s Magda Szubanski (better known as Kath + Kim’s Sharon) as media mogul Cassandra whose really good fun though. You won’t remember the songs five minutes after they’ve finished but it doesn’t stop this being a marshmallowy bit of fun.