Not Suitable for Children (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

Jonah (Ryan Kwanten) is a nice, young, likeable slacker kind of a guy. Someone who doesn’t take life all that seriously and likes to have fun. His best friends, Gus (Ryan Corr) and Stevie (Sarah Snook), live with him in a house he inherited, and they throw big parties there every week to make money. Even though Jonah was on a six month break with his girlfriend, a girl he thought he really loved, things were going along pretty well, and life was good. That is, until a girl he was having relations with at one of their parties noticed a lump on one of his testicles. Things went down hill from there.

He was quickly diagnosed with testicular cancer, a condition which his doctor assured him was 100% treatable, and he wanted to schedule him in for surgery right away. The catch? The treatments after the surgery would leave him sterile. Now faced with the prospect of never being able to have a kid, suddenly Jonah decides he wants to be able to have one. When sperm storage doesn’t work for him, since his sperm doesn’t hold up well under the freezing process, he’s left with only one alternative. He has to find someone who’ll agree to get pregnant with his child before the surgery. He puts off the surgery for a few weeks, and goes on the hunt for someone to help him, and throughout the process, his best friend Stevie does her best to help. When time runs out though, it looks like she may end up being his only option, even though she had never wanted kids, but then after helping him babysit his nephew, suddenly decided she did. Their efforts start out platonic enough, but when the artificial means end up gettinig broken, they have to try to do it the old fashioned way, which raises feelings between them that go beyond friendship.

Let’s be clear about what this film actually is before we get into the actual review. This film is billed as being a comedy. There’s even a quote on the cover that calls it a warm, funny, contemporary comedy. I’m going to tell you right now, this film is not a comedy. It has a few smile moments here and there, but it’s more of a light drama than anything else. The reason I feel it’s important to point this out from the get go is because if you go into this film expecting a laugh out loud comedy, you’re going to be really disappointed. That’s just not what it is, so you should go in with realistic expectations if you want to actually enjoy the film.

Now that that’s out of the way…

I will admit I wasn’t all that excited about this one going in. It just didn’t sound all that good to me. I can’t say I loved the film, but certain aspects of it won me over. Mostly it was the characters. They were well acted and the relationship between them for the most part worked quite well on screen. I do think that Stevie’s character was a little too annoying for my tastes in some respects. Like when they decided she would be the one he’d try to have a baby with, she wrote up this big contract she wanted him to sign that deliniated every aspect of what their relationship would be after the child and what both of their rights and responsibilities were, etc…. Then when it didn’t take and it didn’t look like he was going to be able to have a baby with her at all, suddenly, even though they had fallen in love, she decides that since he can’t give her the baby she wants, they should go back to just being friends. (No that’s not a spoiler, because I’m not telling you if they went back to being friends or stayed together. You’ll have to watch the film to find that out for yourself.)

The other friend, Gus, was against Jonah trying to have a kid, especially since he was using their party people contact list to try to find someone. He even went to far as to contact all the people on the list to tell them about what Jonah was doing so they could be forewarned. Gus just wanted their lives to continue on as they always had, making money with the weekly parties, and the three of them continuing their friendship without interruptions. Even though he’s never really all that supportive, the character never really comes off as a bad guy, which is nice. He may come off as rather selfish in some ways because of his actions, but it’s only because he cherishes the relationship that the three of them have, and the party business they’ve built together. That really is what saves this film. No one in it is really obnoxiously bad or negative. It keeps things lighter, and prevents the story from turning into a heavy drama.

From the description, I expected Jonah to go through a lot more women in the film, but he really didn’t go through all that many. Some notable ones were a pair of lesbians looking to have a child, a girl who had been obsessed with him to the point of almost being a stalker, a woman who was getting older who was thinking about having a kid before it was too late and even his ex-girlfriend. None of them worked out for one reason or another, but the trip through their encounters was somewhat amusing at times.

The film is about the right length for the story, well acted, edited nicely and manages to resolve its story in the end in a way that wasn’t cliched.

The bonus features in this release include interviews with the cast and crew, a behind the scenes featurette and the film’s trailer.

This film could have gone for flat out comedy, or heavy drama, but I think, and wisely so, they chose to just keep it light. That’s what made it work. I thnk it could have also worked as a full on comedy, and perhaps worked even better if that’s what it had been, but for what it is, it’s not a bad viewing experience. It’s a decent film, and it’s definitely worth seeing, but that said, it’s also nothing I’d jump up and down over. It’s just a nice, mostly light film with characters that are well played by the cast, but not more than that.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the blu-ray or DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.