A warm and witty Australian comedy about mateship and growing up, Save Your Legs! will appeal to anyone looking for a dose of good, old-fashioned larrikin behaviour. You don’t need to know the difference between silly-mid on and short-leg to enjoy this story about cricketers on tour, but if you haven’t experienced the collective antics of team sports, some of the meaning might just go through to the keeper. Like any good film about a team, character design is critical and Brendan Cowell’s clever script brings the story together around an eclectic bunch of men-children, all reluctantly approaching the age where they can no longer avoid their responsibilities in the adult world.
Stephen Curry plays Teddy Brown, a cricket tragic and President of the Abbotsford Anglers, a D-grade team from Victoria. Unmarried and living in a spare room at the home of opening batsman and upwardly mobile Stav (Damien Gameau), Teddy thinks the rest of the team in lacking in their usual dedication and spirit. They are all hitting middle age, producing children and taking up other sports. It’s just not cricket. So with the backing of Indian-Australian businessman Sanjeet (Darshan V. Jariwala), he secures a trip to the subcontinent, hoping that the tour will bring back some kind of form and commitment. But as the Anglers overindulge in the sensual side of India, everyone starts to realise that the trip has become more of a journey of self-discovery.
Based on director Boyd Hicklin’s 2005 documentary of his local cricket team’s tour of India, Brendan Cowell’s screenplay is sharp and wicked, occasionally letting the flavour of the humour drop in the direction of the gutter, but always warm and good natured. The ensemble cast are in sparkling form, with Cowell himself relaxed and charming as the hedonistic Rick, Darren Gilshenan appropriately pedantic as the team’s statistician Colin, and David Lyons wonderfully deadpan as the team’s philosophical advisor. Curry plays Teddy as a long-suffering everyman, aiming too high, trying too hard and frequently let down by those around him or his own geekiness. Boyd’s direction focuses on the ironic humour that comes with culture difference and pranks between mates, and if you forgive the screenplay’s whimsical sense of believability, there’s a ton of cheerful fun to be had.