Ben (Jackson Tozer) is a 20-something Aussie who is still trying to find his place in the world. An Uber driver by day, Ben tries to perfect his stand-up comedy routine at night at various Melbourne comedy clubs. He lives with his gay older brother Troy (Troy Larkin) who has a steady job and urges Ben to find someone. But finding someone is Ben’s major problem. He just can’t seem to click with the opposite sex even though he gets several opportunities. His best friend Lucy (Fabiana Weiner) tries to help him out, but even she’s unable to tell him how to peak a woman’s interest. Ben awkwardly goes from one bad date to the next and then as sort of a bizarre consolation prize, integrates the details of his relationships into his comedy routines. Ben knows what he wants, but he’s just unable to figure out how to get it.
“Lazybones” is a new Australian dramedy from writer/director Michael Jones (the film was co-written by Caitlin Farrugia). It’s an honest look at the dysfunction many young adults feel in these days of social media. Ben spends an enormous amount of time on Facebook, Twitter and other social websites, but instead of helping him develop closer relationships with women, these sites has the opposite effect and make it harder for him to relate to the opposite sex. Ben then takes his frustrations out by making his dating experiences part of his act.
Jones and Farrugia successfully create a very intimate atmosphere which helps define Ben’s character. He’s another lost soul, but because he’s honest and affable we get to see a little bit of what makes Ben tick. He may have trouble getting a date, but he’ll never pretend to be someone he isn’t. This intimacy leads to some very honest and tender scenes. I especially liked Ben’s awkwardness while he’s on a date with a woman and finally realizes that she’s missing one of her arms. His fumbling dialogue and attempts to gloss over the situation are heartbreaking. The dialogue is very natural here, even though it is uncomfortable.
But despite some wonderful scenes, the film remains too episodic and never quite jells. It jumps around far too much, and just like its main character it’s somewhat aimless. Still, the film features a very good performance by Jackson Tozer as Ben and doesn’t settle for cheap laughs or pat answers. “Lazybones” is a well intentioned twenty-something dramedy that doesn’t quite hit the heights that it strives for.