Adopted

2009-07-30 10:08
 
Adopted

What it's about:

Pauly Shore, a 40-year-old American comedian and one-time movie star, documents his journey to South Africa to adopt an African child.

What we thought about it:

It’s a dodgy one. It’s a dangerous play. It leaves you with many moments where you think WTF? WTF? But overall, Pauly Shore shoots for your gag reflex, and he scores. This is one of those films (Like Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno and the Aussie gem Kenny) that is so convincing that its fiction seems more truthful than the average real documentary.

With local smoother-and-shaker Sam Hendrickse as executive producer, everything shot in SA and local singer-songwriters Farryl Purkiss, Simon Van Gend and Nibs Van der Spuy providing the whimsical soundtrack, the final result has a decidedly South African flavour. For a change, this flavour is not as distasteful to trendies as Schuster's, but still gleefully exploits schadenfreude and others' shame to make us laugh, and cringe like a good mockumentary should. Think more of the giggles, less of the shits (or to put it in comedy lingo, a white-face, not red-nose approach to humour).

Audiences are going to be confused. It’s the kind of movie that really does make you ask: "What IS this?!"  Is it a mockumentary? Is it a staged documentary? Or is it a series of punks and tricks played on people who afterwards may or may not have signed release forms? Well, I’m guessing there’s a mix of things at play, as the EPK reveals. Pauly Shore’s love interests are undoubtedly acting, as is the guy from the adoption agency (although he really does run an adoption agency – he was just in on the game.) The main kid actors, thankfully, are also just playing their parts. But in other cases it isn’t quite as clear. Oprah’s assistant? The security guards? The guy at the market who proudly shows Shore his room and boasts of his conquests? It’s hard to tell how much of their participation and eventual depiction was knowing or willing. Luckily, the acting’s so good (or so deliberately bad) that the improve, au natural and acted characters fit together without triggering a viewer's disbelief.

One thing is certain, and that is that Pauly Shore waded right in there and got his hands dirty, visiting real townships, meeting real people, and making the humour from real (often mocking) reactions in real situations. The cameras are openly acknowledged, giving the whole thing a pretty convincing documentary feel, and the kids are all brilliant, playing their scornful, manipulative parts as creatures wiser than their years, and wisers than the idiot American who’s so arrogantly auditioning them for a life in the USA (once they’ve been de-loused and so on.) Pauly’s self-reflective existential moments are a hilarious take on the style of those myriad pompous travel programmes that paint their falls into the tourist traps and self-indulgence as some kind of admirable spiritual quest.

Anyhow, critical evaluations shmaluations - only one thing really matters: is it funny?

The answer is yes – whether you’re laughing at Pauly not getting it, or getting it in the ass. It is probably going to be funny in quite a different way to a local audience to how it is in the USA and Europe. I suspect South Africans (like the unwitting participants in the film) might spend more time laughing at Pauly than he really intended, and will notice the moments when his mask slips beyond acting into ironic self-punking. I suspect that overseas audiences will have a few sneering moments of hilarity at our expense when South Africans unwittingly live the stereotypes.

But all that matters is that we’ll all be laughing – and we’ll all have plenty to say and debate afterwards.


Pauly Shore – in all his nails-on-blackboard comedic glory – is making his box office comeback with this mockumentary, spoofing celebrity adoptions of African kids.

Sue 2009/07/27 10:31 AM
This is totally sick. I am a white South African who has adopted black children and I'm no celebrity. Being South African and knowing how desperately these children need homes, any celebrity or non-celebrity is welcome to adopt one of these precious children. There is no need to make a "joke" about it.
shandy 2009/07/27 11:34 AM
I do hope the orphans in this movie will steal the hearts of foreign couples who have had doubts about adopting children from Africa. I hope this movie will move more couples to adopt african children as so many need homes.I hope too that it will move more foreigners to support charities and orphanges in South Africa especially now as the recession hits...... I for one would love to go see the movie as i am sure its not only funny but heart warming too.......
keiran 2009/07/27 12:03 PM
one question always comes to mind.. if they are wanting to adopt a child why do so from sa? Why not a child that is in there own country? surly the there are loads of children in need in that exact country they are in?!
Katherine 2009/07/27 12:32 PM
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This looks hillarious, can't wait to see it.
The Fallen 2009/07/31 1:05 AM
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This message is directed at Sue. Lighten up. I bet you took offense to Bruno too. It's a movie that's FAKE and you don't seem to realize that. It's a MOCKumentary not a DOCumentary. So get down off the cross, use the wood to build a bridge and get over it. It's the idiots like you that take this shit way too seriously that makes me have to say shit like this because no one else is going to.
preshen govender 2009/07/31 9:02 AM
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Madonna’s husband gave her his credit card and said go buy a cute Black number so she adopted a black child.
Matsuya 2009/07/31 11:19 PM
Horrible and shameless. I don't care about the "message" because it's not abou that. It's an attempt at a comeback by a pithy has been. Sad SA let him in. I'm ashamed by our Govt. for allowing this movie to be shot here.
tammy 2010/08/30 9:18 PM
it was very good movie
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