Film Review: The Nut Farm cracks charm out of its undecorated nature

Whilst The Nut Farm undeniably goes for simple, perhaps obvious humour over the course of its brisk 80-ish minutes, audiences looking for clean(ish) humour and a sense of family fun should have an easy time digesting Arj Barker‘s absurd, well-intentioned comedy.

Barker, an American comedian whose very much made Australia his second home over the course of his stand-up career, leads the charge (and serves as co-writer) as Brendan Brandon, a San Francisco-based crypto trader who, in an unfortunate live stream, witnesses his monetary livelihood crumble in an investment collapse.  In a serious case of one-door-closing-comes-an-open-window, he learns that he has inherited a macadamia farm in a small Australian farm town from an uncle he’s never met; apparently said uncle has been declared legally dead following an extended disappearance.

This is something, but the catch is that in order to claim the property he must deliver 20 tonnes of nuts by the end of the season, or else the farm defaults to the next of kin.  It’s a typical outlandish, situational comedy set-up, and whilst we’ve certainly been treated to smarter, more biting comedy as of late, The Nut Farm can’t help but feel all the sweeter for indulging in its facile nature.

As you’d expect, the pressure of if he can get the right amount of nut delivery proves a learning curve for the superficial Brendan and, along the way, there’s a plethora of colourful characters that stand to either help or hinder his progress; Madeleine West proves a sweet presence as love interest-in-waiting Kim, though her on-screen son, JJ Pantano, flirts dangerously with being a little too precocious for his own good; Steph Tisdell is an eccentric delight as the town’s police officer (though, it’s just one of her many job titles, as she takes the idea of helping the community far too literally); and, perhaps the most stand-out of them all, Jonno Roberts as the villain of the piece, Zoron, a fracker with a dairy dependency, who’s intent on taking Brendan’s farm for himself.

It’s all so appropriately ridiculous, but that’s what makes The Nut Farm so charming.

Though it ultimately does feel like the kind of film that’s arriving in cinemas a few decades too late – though director Scott Corfield has stated that such a mentality is deliberate, as he looked at this as an homage to comedies of the 1980s – The Nut Farm should prove a welcome destination for audiences after the more undecorated pleasures of the multiplexes.


The Nut Farm is now screening in Australian theatres.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.