A wholly indie pic, produced without government funding (though the Australian Film Commission came up with a marketing grant after completion), “Lex and Rory” rates an A for the effort and dedication of its twentysomething creators, writer/director/producer Dean Murphy and producer Scott Andrews. Aimed at a teen audience, film has charming moments and generally lively performances from a fresh-faced cast but is too slightto make much of a dent in the market. Offshore sales are unlikely.
Eschewing sex and violence, this is a study of hormone-driven teens who can talk to each other only by telephone. In fact, the awkward construction has prospective lovers Lex and Dai meet for a clinch only at the very end, their romance having taken place at a distance until then.
Set in the provincial city of Albury, home base of the filmmakers, pic explores the world of affluent teens who have been indulged by their parents but still have all the usual emotional problems. Lex has a crush on the spunky Dai, who already has a devoted boyfriend, but he’s too shy toapproach her. One night he calls her, and over a series of increasingly lengthy and romantic phone conversations, he persuades her to pursue her dream of applying for a design course (against the wishes of her bullying father).
Pic should really be titled “Lex and Dai,” since Lex’s buddy Rory is a marginal character at best. More footage is devoted to Dai’s supposedly cute kid brother, Jamie, and a b&w, silent-style epilogue featuring him is a pointless indulgence.
Message is that teenagers should follow their dreams and not be swayed by their parents or school teachers. Touchy subject of teen suicide is also a factor, via a scene in which the dispirited Dai contemplates taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
Main assets are the young actors. Angus Benfield is a personable Lex and Fiona MacGregor a foxy Dai, with Paul Robertson and Wendy Holics less effective as the secondary couple. Pic has moments of charm and insight. Its production values are modest but adequate.