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Babalas

2013-08-02 09:24
 
A South African movie that honours our history of funny adverts with drunken debauchery and unfunny humour, trying to do an Afrikaans version of The Hangover.
Babalas
What it's about:

Boet (Ian Roberts) and Swaer (Norman Anstey), made famous by the Castrol ads in the late 1980s, have not moved from the Oasis Bush Pub's stoep since then - that is until a sexy advertising agent (Tammy-Anne Fortuin) tracks them down so that they can perform in a show at Emperor's Palace that honours the best ads of our country. With the newest addition to the team, Neef (Jack Parow), the team try to make it to Johannesburg in time, despite their many stops for "a drink" on the way.

What we thought:

The biggest disappointment of this movie is that it could have been so much funnier. Most South Africans fondly remember Castrol's Boet, Swaer and Moegae who livened up our television screens with their bush humour, but unfortunately Babalas does not live up to this tradition.

The movie producers tried to take characters from a previous generation and mix them with the current generation, i.e. Jack Parow, just so that they can broaden the audience. Although their style of humour are in similar kommin roots, the chemistry between Parow and the two veteran actors was not the same as the chemistry between the older actors themselves, and it felt like the young were competing with the old for the spotlight.

Not to say Parow is a bad actor, who with the right script could do well in the film industry, but the two generations were not on the same level.

As for the only female role in the whole movie, the only function for Mia the ad agent was to be the sex object for the rest of the cast to ogle at. Fortuin was over-acting the whole way through, which is a problem in South African movies, especially comedies, and the character seemed to have no real personality beyond annoyance at the antics of the group. Feminists would not love this depiction.

The saddest part of the movie, however, was the glaring hole left by the death of Fats Bookholane, who played the kung fu fighting Moegae, around the time that they were planning the film. Although it was clear that he would have had a role in the movie, they did not really honour his legacy in the script, writing him out as having "pursued other things", which leaves you wondering until the end of the movie when they give a memoriam to the actor.

Although I barely laughed throughout this debacle, the audience around found it highly entertaining, which shows that an Afrikaans educated white young female might not have been part of the target audience.

It might also have been the wine they plied everyone with before the premiere. In any case, a weak plot and ill-comedic timing left you feeling that somewhere you missed some big joke.

If you are proudly Afrikaans and love the kommin humour, this might be for you. If the most Afrikaans you can muster is "lekker" or "hosja" then not even the subtitles will save from this mediocre comedy.

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

Hard to Get

2014-08-22 10:14

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
SimonTempler 8/5/2013 9:32 PM
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I didn't even have to see the movie to arrive at the same conclusion. Like the Esterhuizens, Schuster and a few other producers that believe Afrikaans movies have to depict kommin banality to be funny,one wonders when they will just disappear with their sick humour.
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