Written & Directed by Dan Tonkin
Starring Ivan Berry, David Hughes, Helen Clapp, & Laura McAlpine
Short film review by Sarah Smeaton
Switching Beers is a light-hearted, romcom short film, with a bromance at the heart of it. We follow friends, Mark and Chris, as they discuss the future of their relationships with long-term girlfriends, Becky and Jessica. The main theme tries to get to the bottom of the benefits of marriage. Mark is contemplating proposing to his girlfriend but Chris openly has serious commitment issues and spends the short film trying to convince Mark to not go ahead with his proposal to Becky.
I feel sure this is meant to be a comedy (I’m not sure what other genre it can fall under as not a lot happens) but the laughs were few and far between. In fact Mark, the advocate of marriage, spends the majority of the movie being highly misogynistic and outright insulting toward the opposite sex. When Chris asks him what the point of marriage is, Mark helpfully comes up with several reasons, including; having someone to clean the house, to do the shopping for him and to fetch beers. If this isn’t insulting enough, Chris has some counter reasons as to why women can’t even do these jobs properly as if they were given the responsible task of the weekly shopping, to quote they’d; ‘end up getting the wrong thing and taking twice as long’. Not only this but the wife would no doubt have the audacity to buy something for herself on the joint credit card, likely ‘a dress that she’d wear once and never wear again’. And of course she’d muck up buying beer as she’d get the alcohol free ones. How anyone could see the humour in this I’m not so sure.
This felt like an awful imitation of Men Behaving Badly. It’s got the lazy men who like to get drunk all the time down to a fine art. But I couldn’t find anything that resembled comedy no matter how hard I tried.
The production is simple in form and doesn’t attempt to break any boundaries, so I’m afraid Switching Beers didn’t gain any points in this department either. This was Dan Tonkin’s first foray into writing and he has gone on to write several more short films, but the plot of Switching Beers was lacking in any real direction. We are left at the end of the short film no further on than when we first started, apart from that Mark probably dislikes women even more, and Chris has trained his girlfriend to buy in the strong beers. Hooray.