The Efficiency Expert

A winsome little Australian comedy (originally known as Spotswood) set in the mid-60s, this evokes the optimism that typified some of the cheerily humanist British comedies of that period, and ends up alternately charming and tepid. An uptight efficiency expert (Anthony Hopkins) gradually becomes humanized while investigating an inefficient but endearing family-run shoe factory for its benign but naive owner (Alwyn Kurts). There are various romantic subplots, and the storytelling is fairly leisurely and digressive even without them. More or less aiming to nuzzle at your shins like a cocker spaniel, it’s a movie that expects a certain amount of affectionate indulgence. Directed by Mark Joffe from a script by Max Dann and Andrew Knight; with Ben Mendelsohn, Toni Collette, Dan Wyllie, Bruno Lawrence, and Rebecca Rigg. (JR)

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