starring: jackie van beek, damon herriman, jermaine clement, and chelsie preston crayford
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
A suburban couple goes to a new-age retreat as a last ditch attempt to save their marriage.
Nude Tuesday is a wonderfully odd movie from filmmakers Armagan Ballantyne and Jackie Van Beek (The Breaker Upperers), that thoroughly enjoys itself by subjecting its straight-laced leads, the overworked and strung-out parents Laura and Bruno (Van Beek and Damon Herriman respectively), to increasingly absurd situations at the hands of the Jermaine Clement’s guru Bjorg Rasmussen while they attend his unconventional couple’s retreat.
Laura and Bruno are both 40-somethings rapidly approaching another anniversary, too run down by life to realise that the spark in their relationship has gone. Following a period of stress culminating in a bloody client pitch meeting for Laura, something clearly needs to change for the couple. At the behest of Bruno’s mother and their own children, they set out together to attend a three day new age couple’s retreat, run by the enigmatic and charismatic Bjorg Rasmussen who promises that their problems will be resolved if they both fully embrace the programme and it’s unconventionality.
The weirdness of Nude Tuesday starts immediately as the cast improvise their dialogue entirely in a gibberish language, somehow resulting in an oddly Scandinavian vibe. The subtitles for the movie were provided by English comic Julia Davis, Ronny Chieng (The Daily Show) and Celia Pacquola, giving another uniquely odd feel to the movie that entirely works.
Furthering the oddness is Jermaine Clement’s performance as the magnetic and mysterious Bjorg. He is certainly an impressive presence in the film and works well to propel the story down its more wild tangents, where the fun is seeing Laura and Bruno entirely out of their element.
Herriman’s Bruno is especially funny and simultaneously frustrating for how rigid he persists in being, in an environment intended to relax inhibitions. It’s easy to commiserate a little with him because of the weirdness of the situation he’ll find himself in, but also feel like he needs to chill out and let go - ultimately part of the problem in his marriage.
Nude Tuesday is a bit of a gem, successfully mixing the humour of a fish out of water scenario with the inherent oddness of the gibberish dialogue and it’s wild setting, while exploring relatable aspects of adult life in a clever and overall heartwarming manner.