Rebecca Gibney really should stay away from car boots -they are clearly bad luck for her.
In 2010 she played Maria Korp in Nine’s telemovie Wicked Love. Back then she was a factory worker and wife of Vince Colosimo, left to die in the boot of a family car.
Five years later she is checkout chick Lola in Seven’s Wanted, kidnapped in the boot of a car after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This time she is not alone, thrown together with accountant Chelsea (Geraldine Hakewill).
What unfolds across the opening episode is part action and part comedy of errors with early signs of a road movie thrown in for good measure.
The two women are complete strangers whose lives change in an instant when they witness a murder whilst waiting for the morning bus. Lola (Gibney) is a rough-around-the-edges supermarket worker, struggling to pay the rent and communicate with her son. Chelsea is a highly-strung but painfully unhappy accountant.
When they are forced at gunpoint by small-time crook Chris (Ryan Corr) into the boot of a car, its a meeting of high and low-class opposites who must work together to escape.
On their tail is family man and Homicide detective Ray (Nicholas Bell), a bent cop somehow connected to a bag of cash in the very same car. But Ray is also overseeing the case, in cahoots with an anonymous Mr. Big (not his real name…) a point he keeps from cluey young detective Josh (Stephen Peacocke).
Lola and Chelsea don’t get along, leading to lightly comedic arguments the belie immediate danger, but without the cracking wit of Thelma and Louise.
Gibney (also co-creator and Co-Executive Producer) commits to the role boots and all, but her star presence is somewhat distracting in the overall narrative, and I couldn’t help but feel her frumpy dressing down as ‘low class’ might have been more effective by playing low class but aspiring to high class.
Newcomer Geraldine Hakewill is convincing in a more difficult, and potentially unlikeable, role. Nicholas Bell makes the most of his duplicitous character and Ryan Corr again shows he is a fine young actor (Peacocke begins to do more by episode 2).
The ‘let’s-get-out-of-here’ plot under director Peter Templeman requires much of its audience, suspending disbelief in some rather extreme situations then detouring into character comedy. I appreciated that the script (Timothy Hobart, John Ridley, Kirsty Fisher) didn’t overdo its exposition, and as the story unfolds the locations will be one of the drama’s better assets.
It’s fair to say there is nothing else like it on air right now, but will the audience go along for the ride or ask questions about the whole thing seeking to be a serious proposition…?
Wanted premieres 9pm Tuesday on Seven.