The Price of Milk (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This New Zealand offering may be the film for you if you are looking for something very odd, but gentle.

Rob and Lucinda are a blissfully happy unmarried couple who are running a dairy farm somewhere in New Zealand. They have many spontaneous romantic interludes, take outdoor baths together. etc. Rob is also the world's nicest guy. He loves his cows and knows them all personally, and he refuses to put down his agoraphobic dog, instead allowing the pet to live permanently under three sides of a a cardboard box.

Rob proposes, Lucinda accepts, and their life seems to exist in Eden.

Enter the serpent.

Lucinda's putative friend, Drosophilia, says that Lucinda needs to test Rob to see if he really loves her. She ought to do this before marrying him, because anybody can be sweet and adorable and loving during the good times, but Rob might be a real jerk when he is tested, and its better to find that out before marriage. Of course, since Rob is not only the nicest guy in New Zealand, but the ONLY guy living within hundreds of miles, Drosophilia's real intention is to break up the happy couple and get Rob for herself. You'd think enough women would have seen enough movies or TV shows to make everyone aware of this trick, but I guess they don't get out much in rural New Zealand.


Danielle Cormack shows a nipple in a bath.

Karl Urban shows his buns when he jumps into the milk vat.

So far it sounds like an episode of I Love Lucy, right?

Well, it won't stay that way, because Lucinda goes to rather extreme lengths to see if Rob loves her, way beyond anything Lucy would do to Ricky. For example, she cuts off his nuts and feeds them to the wild dogs, but Rob just says "oh, honey, you little kidder, you got some 'splainin' to do", and smooches her.

OK, I made that up, but the stuff she does is pretty much just as bad. For example, she starts by taking a bath in some of his milk, thus destroying his finances and causing him to waste days of labor, but he just smiles, chucks her chin, and jumps into the milk to make love to her. After ol' Robbo passes that test, she decides to trade all of his cows for a quilt.

Say what?

This winds together with a sub-plot involving an old Maori magic woman of some kind and her very well-dressed golfing nephews. Lucinda ran the old woman over with a car while driving at full speed along a rural highway. The old woman wasn't even bothered by the car thing, except that she really needed to keep warm, so she had her nephews steal Lucinda's quilt ...

And that brings us back to the main plot. So Rob now has a dairy farm with no cows at all, thus no way to make a living. All he has to show for it is a quilt.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • excellent transfer!

  • full-length commentary by the director and lead actress.

Oh, jeez, I just can't do any more of this, and I guess it would be a spoiler if I told you more. The film is actually quite cute if you like magic realism, but you better not be one of those people who insists on a logical progression of events, because the swap of a more than a hundred cows for a quilt, a cardboard box with legs, and an old woman who cannot be killed are actually some of the more earth-bound and sensible events in the film. It is magical realism, and there is far more magic than realism. In fact, now that I think about it, it is magic realism without all that pesky realism.

The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 2/4. Mr Ebert was on the low end of critical response. I'm guessing that the average was about two and a half stars. See the MRQE link below for a quick overview.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it a very respectable 6.6/10
  • It played only in the most offbeat arthouse theaters in the big markets. It grossed about $100,000, never reaching more than five screens.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. I generally don't like this kind of movie at all, and I don't much care for magic realism, but I have to admit that this film is engaging in a very strange and indecipherable way. You might like it if you don't really care whether movie events are plausible.

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