Starring Ryan Kwanten and Maeve Dermody. Rated PG.
Movies like to tell us that different is good. Griff the Invisible, however, gets across just how costly it can be to separate yourself from the herd. An Australian comedy about the limits of willpower and colour-coordinated costumes, the movie is a good-hearted study of obsession as a form of self-affirmation, social norms be damned.
Written and directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Leon Ford, the film follows the imagination-fuelled exploits of one Griff, a low-level office worker played Ryan Kwanten (better known as dim Jason Stackhouse on True Blood) who dreams of fighting crime on a nightly basis. Maeve Dermody, of Black Water and other action flicks, is Melody, a quirky young woman obsessed with the universe’s atomic substructure—something she is sure means that we can walk through walls if we just concentrate enough.
They meet only because Griff’s protective older brother, Tim (Patrick Brammall), takes a fancy to her—something her anxious, likable parents encourage more than she does. Straight-arrow Tim seems to think his sibling is utterly incapable, so it’s a huge surprise to him that Melody would be smitten by this shy bumbler with potentially glamorous secrets. In fact, she’s been looking for someone whose interest in physics, or the meta kind, could help take her where she wants to go. Their connection is the heart of the movie, providing an erotic spark you don’t usually get from nerds-in-love tales.
Slightly less successful are scenes of Griff getting pranked by the smug office bully (Toby Schmitz), and his eventual run-in with police—a which-side-is-Batman-on? type riff—seems underdeveloped. It’s both less ambitious and more personal than Super, Kick-Ass, and other recent hero-downsizing efforts. And if the story doesn’t exactly walk through walls, the loony twosome here have enough earthly powers to charm.
Watch the trailer for Griff the Invisible.