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The Crop

Year: 2004
Director: Scott Patterson
Writer: George Elliot
Cast: George Elliot, Holly Brisley, Rhys Mulddon, Tony Barry
Any film that displays the tagline along with the title (and in Comic Sans, no less) is in trouble.

Completely self financed, produced, written by and starring NASCAR racing driver and author George Elliot, it's a rare example where some tweed wearing government funding representative should have stepped in - if only to veto the whole project.

It's hard to bag a movie project that's entirely someone's baby, when movies are notoriously hard and expensive to get made, and especially when Australian films are still copping such flack as I write this review.

But it was a shambles. It's hard to say what was worse, the year 8 drama class-level of acting talent, or a plot that wanders all over the place like an out of control car.

Elliot, trying to be the hero although he's completely unsuited in both talent and physicality to the part, is the hero, an early 80's nightclub owner being sent broke by the introduction of random breath testing.

Noticing that all the patrons are smoking pot but not drinking at his club any more, he decides to cultivate a crop of marijuana to get himself out of trouble (including a decrease in profits and crooked cops demanding their protection money).

Getting hold of a plot of land in the bush, he and his bouncer and best friend grow them to harvest where they're stolen by more crooked cops, and the rest of the movie is (apparently) about them trying to get their dope back, and navigate the shady characters in the periphery of the story.

I say apparently because there's no structural identity in the film to tell you what it's about, whether it's them trying to grow the dope, or trying to get it back after it's been stolen. In the end it may be all or nothing of those things, and is just about some guy trying to get through life (and therefore little to nothing). It wasn't even particularly funny and so failed as a comedy.

Clumsy writing or editing is also plentiful, including a secondary character who turns up early on in the piece, does nothing but sit around watching for the rest of film, and the saves the day during the climax for no reason and with motivationn that are never revealed (even the characters themselves aren't sure why, and if they don't know what's going on, what hope does the audience have?)

Home and Away starlet Holly Brisley, if hoping for a career launching turn like Holly Valance or Kylie Minogue, should have looked elsewhere. And as she looks like she's barely out of her teens, seeing romantic scenes with a leading man who's obviously in his mid forties is more than mildly creepy.

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