(G) Directed by Stuart McDonald
Starring Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Alan Tudyk

by Ben McEachen

This hokey hunk of all-ages confection strives to be a magical Australian fairytale. Such a bonzer aim casts only a so-so spell during the broad, ocker telling of the true story behind a penguin preservation program at Warrnambool.

Oddball is a free-spirit farm dog who becomes the unexpected defender of a colony of endangered penguins. The animal high-jinks aren't computer choreographed like Babe and modest appeal flows from such naturalism. However, the cute/hilarious quota is lower than anticipated.

More focus rests upon the human contingent, who are too one-dimensional or cartoonish to warrant such attention. Oddball's owner Swampy (Shane Jacobson) is a one-man Strewth Convention, pushing the daggy envelope as his relationship with daughter and granddaughter niggles at our hearts.

While Australiana is amplified throughout, imported talent Alan Tudyk counters with an American caricature. Such choices help to diminish the endearing or lovable moments, as groans tend to outweigh giggles.

This review was originally published in Empire magazine's October 2015 edition. For more Empire, click here.