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Sally Marshall is not an alien

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Movie propaganda

When star-gazer Pip Lawson (Helen Neville) is forced into a bet with the school bully Rhonnie (Thea Gumbert), she undertakes the daunting task of either proving that her next door neighbour Sally Marshall (Natalie Vansier) is not an alien or forfeiting her beloved telescope.

Enlisting the help of her friend Ben (Glenn McMillan), Pip sets out to prove that the Marshall family is really from the planet Earth.

At first, she thinks the bet is money in the bank, but after meeting the eccentric Marshall clan (Mac Tweedie as dad, Melissa Jaffer as gran and Vince Poletto as Wayne) she starts to have second thoughts.

Yet as the two girls become close friends, Pip learns that Sally's idiosyncrasies count for little as the bond between them surpasses all else. It's a lesson in life that teaches the girls that appearances count for little while true friendship is the real value of life.

Also starring Blue as Buster. Based on Amanda McKay's novel of the same name. Directed by Mario Andreacchio.

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Uh-oh. Another one of those Australian family films starring a bunch of kids being forced to talk like adults because the writers haven't got it figured out.

Which is to say that I didn't like it. Sally Marshall... is, for the most part, a clichéd story of outcast meets outcast and forms lasting friendship. Think Muriel's wedding without the frocks, humour, sex, wit and (apart from one scene) irony. There is too much of an attempt to make a clever film with set pieces for the characters to perform, jokes that have no relevance to the story but are included so the film has some humour and meaningfully sinister events that no-one would ever believe. Hello? "Your next door neighbour is an alien and if you can't prove she's human I get your telescope?" Nah!

Perhaps part of the problem is that Amanda wrote the script as soon as she'd finished writing the novel. These things need time to mature, time for reflection, time to see mistakes. I wonder which parts script editor Scott Hicks is responsible for.

*Thinks about Ben's psychotic sisters*

You don't need to see this film even if it is made in Australia, but it might keep the teens occupied for an hour or two over the summer holidays.

Security censorship classification

G

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 1 January 2000

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Irony
There is a scene near the end where Rhonnie incites the nameless child extras into staging an all out assault on Sally by using inspiring rhetoric from the great leaders. It's ironic because it is, but that doesn't make it work any better than the rest of the film because they tried too hard.

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