FAMILY; 1hr 35min

STARRING: Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Coco Jack Gillies

Nothing not to love: Meeko, Jacobson and chooks

The Victorian coastal city of Warrnambool is a piece of paradise with trouble brewing for its Middle Island fairy-penguin colony. The precious birds are being monstered by foxes and the council is about to strip the island of its sanctuary status. This is bad news for penguin-loving ranger Emily Marsh (Snook) and her enterprising daughter, Olivia (Gillies), but a possible road to redemption for a certain hyperactive maremma sheepdog.


Oddball (Meeko, a natural) is chaos on out-of-control paws for Emily’s genial dad, chook farmer Swampy (Jacobson), and a thorn in the side of local authorities, who have mean-spiritedly grounded him for being a public menace. But wouldn’t you know it, Oddy is a natural as a fox-deterring penguin sitter! And if there’s a more sure-fire recipe for cute-on-toast than a flock of tiny waddlers beaks-to-snout with a big ol’ goofball hound — especially one inspired by actual goings-on — then I’ve yet to find one. Oddy and the birds are a win-win in every way, and although it waffles and strolls, Oddball the movie, directed by Stuart McDonald (TV’s Summer Heights High), has a heart even bigger than the entire southwest coast.