A review of “Introducing the Dwights” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: R for sexual content and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

 

 

Seems an age since solid Australian dramedy washed up on our shores but “Dwights” is worth the wait.

Brenda Blethyn is a knockout as bawdy comedienne cum overbearing single mom Jean Dwight, ready with a smile and a hug but perpetually searching for the emotional spotlight. Jean plies her trade at local clubs, desperately seeking the quintessential break while teenage boys Tim (Khan Chittenden) and Mark (Richard Wilson) play second fiddle in the shaky family dynamic.

When Tim falls hard for fetching beauty Jill (Emma Booth) Jean sees to it that the girl is made as unwelcome as possible, refusing to remember her name and insisting that Tim’s budding romance will shatter the unique bond between mother and sons.

That’s the beauty and intrigue of “Dwights”; warm and fuzzy on the outside but palpably threatening within. Comic quips jockey with troublesome turmoil as coming-of-age clashes with the sting of growing old.         Blethyn puts a happy face on a life’s short straws but turns bitch-cat on wheels when cornered by a harsher reality. Guilt and dysfunction ooze from every frame with only a slack section or two along the way. Errant storylines -- mentally challenged Mark struggling for independence and the like -- pale in comparison to the core sentiment.

At its heart “Dwights” is Blethyn’s and it’s irresistibly repellant to watch her morph from purring pussycat to vulgar vixen with theatrical lollapalooza. A smart alternative to summer’s bloated blockbusters.