THE NIGHT WE CALLED IT A DAY is a corker of a flick, that seems to have been somewhat overlooked by distributors and critics. It's essentially a long-drawn out one joke movie, but I think it has a lot of charm and a good few belly-laughs. It's apparently based on a true story wherein an ageing Frank Sinatra was brought to Australia by an upstart young promoter called Rod Blue for a comeback tour. Frank called an irritating young journo a two-buck whore, which caused all the Australian unions, headed up by a pre-premiership Bob Hawke, to go on strike. So you get two intransigent men who don't say sorry - Sinatra and Hawke, eye-balling it - and this young promoter who is one more cancelled concert away from bankruptcy, caught in the middle. What we get from all this is a nicely observed, frothy slip of a movie. Joel Edgerton is endearing as the chancer, Rod Blue. Melanie Griffith is convincingly ditzy as Frank's squeeze and Rose Byrne is suitably sweet as the straight girl with a crush on Blue. The only weak link is Dennis Hopper, cast as Frank. That's not because Dennis is bad - just that imitating Sinatra is near-impossible. For my money, Ray Liotta did it best in the TV movie, The Rat Pack. But this is more than compensated for by the sheer brilliance of casting David Field (notable as Keithy George in CHOPPER) as a young Bob Hawke complete with insane hair-do, aviator specs and bad suit. Genius. So for any of you looking for a bit of Ol' Blue Eyes nostalgia combined with a conventional heart-warming rom-com, knock yourself out.
THE NIGHT WE CALLED IT A DAY premiered at Cannes 2003 and goes on limited release in the UK this week.