It can be tough being a fan of Australia, comedy, and that narrow Venn diagram crossover zone, Australian comedies – we love so much and get so little in return. Now here comes a movie that looks set to balance the books: The Merger.
Based on the stage show by Melbourne comedian Damian Callinan, The Merger follows a disgraced former footy star (Callinan) turned social justice campaigner whose plan to rebuild his home town’s struggling football team involves recruiting recently settled refugees to the squad. Comedy and, presumably, trenchant social commentary ensues.
Callinan’s play was heaped with praise back in the day, and judging by this first trailer, the film looks set to continue that trend. It’s an absolute weapon of a concept, and if the movie can manage to carry that without becoming too preachy or parochial, it could very well be the break out Australian film of the year.
Directed by Mark Grentell (Backyard Ashes) and co-starring Kate Mulvany, John Howard, and Josh McConville, The Merger is due in cinemas later this year.