Ruben Guthrie is not perfect. It is short, sharp, funny – laugh-out-loud funny – bold, rude, showy, loud, clever, original, witty, smart and very impressive to look at. But it is not perfect, one suspects, because it realises all of those other qualities are far more important to aim for in terms of pleasing an audience.
It is the tale of an advertising creative executive at the top of his game, Guthrie, who is also partying with the best of them. The story begins with a literal fall, which prompts Guthrie to give up the booze, in turn threatening a fall from grace in an industry and society that cannot fathom or abide such a decision.
Perhaps most impressively, though charged with impressive pathos, the tale of Guthrie’s search for sobriety never sojourns into moralizing or maudlin depression. This is a comedy first and foremost and it knows it.
We spend a year in total with Guthrie but it veritably races by in a series of well-executed, cleverly conceived set ups that desire not so much to explore the many facets of his teetotalism as flesh out the best comedic potential from them all.
Ultimately the film rises and falls on the performance of Patrick Brammall as Guthrie, and this fast-rising star of the Australian screen is simply tremendous, demonstrating his capacity for both subtle drama and razor-sharp comedy.
So no, Ruben Guthrie is not perfect. It hasn’t quite shaken off its theatrical roots sufficiently; it lets loose a few too many plot threads along the way; and it relegates its secondary characters too often to devices.
But it is a world of fun, laughter-soaked fun. Arguably the most fun you can have, without having a drink!
‘Ruben Guthrie’ Movie Times