Hating Alison Ashley


Directed by: Geoff Bennett
Written by:Christine Madafferi
Starring: Delta Goodrem, Saskia Burmeister, Jean Kittson,  Craig McLachlan, Alexander Cappelli
Released: March 17, 2005
Grade: B-

Of an afternoon, you can be sure to catch at least one low-budget Aussie series aimed at a teen audience.  I can remember watching them after school and you could also catch them early on Saturday morning.  They defined the term “cheesy”.  The storylines were often farcical and the young actors delivered their lines as if they’d never rehearsed them.  In hindsight, they were fun to watch but they certainly weren’t going to win any awards.

Hating Alison Ashley reminds me of such shows.  The characters and setting are over-the-top and it all looks second-rate.  Just seeing Craig McLachlan in a patheticly unfunny supporting role is proof enough.  Unless you’re a girl under the age of 15 or a fan of Robin Klein’s novel, this film ain’t for you.

Alison Ashely (Goodrem) arrives as a new student at Barringa East High School.  Almost immediately, she’s become the mortal enemy of Erica Yurken (Burmeister).  She may not have many friends but Erica’s good grades have ensured she’s got want she wants – the mantle as the teacher’s pet.  Alison’s arrival however marks a changing of the guard.  Alison’s got the brains and the looks and she’s innocently worming her way into the teacher’s hearts.

This will not stand for Erica.  Nor will the fact that Alison is winning of the heart of the school bad-boy Barry Hollis (Cappelli).  Something has to be done but Erica won’t be getting any help from her eccentric family.  Her younger sister is always pretending to be a horse and her older sister has become a major bitch who won’t let anyone in her room.

I don’t what to think of Saskia Burmeister in the leading role.  She is so incredibly annoying and every time she spoke, I felt like throwing something at the screen.  Then again, I think this is what her immature character is all about so she’s probably done quiet a good job.  Her resume is ideal too having appeared in one of those cheesy Aussie shows – a series in 2003 known as Wicked Science.  I must have missed that one.  Cough, cough. 

Hating Alison Ashley is probably the most well known Australian film of the past two years.  There’s been a heavy advertising campaign to take advantage of the high-profile status of singer Delta Goodrem.  Those expecting Delta to shine will be disappointed as she is largely in the background and doesn’t seem to say or do much.  The hoping for a revival in the Australian film industry might also be disappointed.  In my Monday night screening during the film’s first week, I was one of only two patrons.