Emo The Musical, as its title might suggest, likes to make fun of things.
Emos. Public schools. Awkward teenagers. Religious groups. Really, really dark music. They all get a skewing in this quirky, original Australian comedy which plays out exactly like it sounds.
New kid at school and aspiring emo Ethan (Benson Jack Anthony) tries to fit in with the heavily-eyelined crew, headed up by band-leader and alpha dark-dude Bradley (Rahart Adams). Too besotting himself with cliché-ridden religious type and one part of the opposing, Christian-themed band Trinity (Jordan Hare), Ethan struggles to juggle the affection for his newfound crush with his efforts to fit in with the non-conformists.
Boasting a few memorable throwaway quips like “I’ve only ever seen Bradley this mad at Christmas,” Emo The Musical isn’t so much a coherent set of events as a combination of the occasionally great one-liner, a few good tunes and some very funny scenes featuring the dark posse superimposed on suburban neighbourhoods and comparatively lighter fare.
Something which may just make actual emos and the more ‘straight-laced’ laugh and cringe in equal measure, Emo the Musical wreaks of pointed disdain for much of its lambasted subject matter, too indulging in some clichés more superfluous and grating than they are funny.
Laying heavy on the tropes, Ethan proclaiming at his audition that “this song doesn’t have a title because I’m not into labels and I don’t care if you like it” is among the funnier moments of the film, of which it is in no short supply. Also featuring a hilarious running gag on despondency in Australia’s public schools, the film switches tack towards the third act to some surprisingly dark material; noticeably out of kilter with the aspiringly-ironic earlier acts.
Piling in story strands and subplots as if it were an early episode of Glee, like the cult show Emo The Musical delivers a discordant hodgepodge of mimicry and musical delight together with the intermittent, left-field laugh-out-loud moments that will gleefully take you by surprise.
Emo The Musical is screening as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival on Friday 12 August, Saturday 13 August and Sunday 14 August, for tickets head to the Festival website