Oddball is an Australian film about an eccentric chicken farmer, Swampy (Shane Jacobson), who, with the help of his granddaughter Olivia (Coco Jack Gillies), trains his dog Oddball to protect the fairy penguins on a nearby island and protect his daughter’s penguin sanctuary there. Based on a true story, Swampy’s journey to save the penguins is full of heart and family.
As a family film, it’s pretty solid, with a good plot, lovable characters, cute animals and good morals. It teaches about family and being yourself, but is also lighthearted and fun. Not all ends meet, however; some of the plot lines either trail off or come out of nowhere, and the ending is surprising in a “why, this makes no sense” way. But the bulk of the film is enjoyable and substantial, and the fact that it’s a true story gives it more heart and wonder.
Shane Jacobson is great as our main man Swampy, a chicken farmer with a big heart and a good sense of humor. He’s funny for both kids and adults to enjoy, and his relationship with his granddaughter Olivia was lovely and fun. It was also nice to watch a veteran of Australian film and comedy like Jacobson work with and guide a young talent like Coco Jack Gillies. Alan Tudyk was great as the annoying American Bradley (though I’m sure he’s far from annoying in real life), and Frank Woodley’s small but enjoyable role as the dog catcher really captured his manic style. And Oddball, the star of the show, was cute, fluffy and captured the hearts of the audience.
Australian film occasionally gets a bad rap (and I usually can’t blame them), but Oddball was quite enjoyable to watch. A great cast and a solid, heartfelt plot make it a good family film for animal lovers, or lovers of a good true story.
Here’s a list of my top five favorite animal characters:
- Jack the Monkey – Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
- Remy the Rat – Ratatouille
- Mushu the Dragon – Mulan
- Hedwig the Owl – the Harry Potter Series
- Timon the Meerkat – the Lion King