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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 23, 2020

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Review: Oddball

Review: Oddball

| On 17, Sep 2015

Oddball is an Australian family film based on the remarkable true story of Swampy Mash. The film completely ignores the number one rule in the entertainment industry – never work with children or animals. The risk is one that definitely pays off.

The likeable Shane Jacobson stars as the big-hearted chicken farmer Swampy Mash, who hatches a plan to save an endangered colony of wild penguins, which are being wiped out by a pack of foxes during the low tides. Swampy’s daughter, Emily is the local wildlife ranger and can’t bear to see the sanctuary close. So, with the help of his grand-daughter, Swampy trains his cheeky maremma sheepdog Oddball to protect the penguin sanctuary in an attempt to reunite his family and save their seaside town.

The penguins that appear in the film were provided by SeaWorld and so it was fitting that the Queensland premiere of the film was held there earlier on in the week. The Creative Issue attended the premiere of this exciting Australian project and was pleasantly surprised.

As one of the many upcoming Australian films, Oddball provides plenty of laughs as well as a few tears. Director Stuart McDonald, a regular Chris Lilley collaborator knows how to draw the whole family into the mayhem of the small seaside town.The characters movements feel almost animated especially Frank Woodley who plays the comical dog catcher.


Jacobson effortlessly captures the kookiness of Swampy but knows when to tone it down in all the right places. The chemistry between Jacobson and his onscreen grand-daughter Coco Jack Gillies is believable and charming as together they persevere to save the penguin habitat. Gillies who previously starred in Mad Max: Fury Road proves that she is a talented young performer with a bright future on the big screen.

Kids and parents alike will enjoy this film as it is filled with the lovable yet goofy Oddball and stunning sweeping shots of Western Victoria. The film is also rich with jokes targeted towards everyone. Oddball is a surprisingly funny film that pulls at the heartstrings. It is delightfully refreshing as it explores the often untold relationship between a young girl and her grand-father. Keep space in the DVD library for this instant classic – right beside Babe and Red Dog.

Photo Credit: Roadshow Films