Australia a Continental Mess
Epic misses its mark
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2008 11:42 AM CST

(Newser) Australia strives mightily to be a grand, old-school epic romance. “But what we get instead is an unwieldy mess” that’s overlong and drowning in clichés, writes Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. Stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman “have no chemistry to speak of,” but luckily they’re “the only two beautiful people for miles around. In a movie like this, that’s really all you need to fall in love.”

The film’s racial message irked some, but worked for Todd McCarthy of Variety, who found the epic uneven but enjoyable. “Like a Rolls-Royce on a rocky country road,” he muses, “it bounces and lurches, but you can’t really complain about the seat.” Director Baz Luhrmann “cannot compose an ugly shot,” allows Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. “But, crikey, a padded script bloated with subplots and shameless sentimentality can wear you down.”