Finding Lenny

2009-04-07 14:57
 

What it's about:

Renowned South African comedian Barry Hilton plays Lenny Vincent, a school soccer coach and a sportswriter. On his 50th birthday, fate deals him a heavy blow when he loses his job, his wife leaves him for a younger man, and he ends up in the boot of a heist gang’s car. So the scene is set for an adventure that sees Lenny hired to coach a rural team whose fate is inextricably linked to the outcome of a soccer match, help the village chief reunite his two sons, and rediscover his passion for life.

A one on one chat with The Cousin


What we thought of it:

Barry Hilton makes a fine transition from the stage and the small screen to film. He proves he has a dramatic, emotional side, but always with that trademark mischievous glint in his eye to remind us of his comedic roots. Playing the actual joker in the pack is veteran Russel Savadier as Lenny's best friend Dave, a failed bookie with delusions of wisdom.

The plot is universal: guy loses everything but then regains it all, and more, by the end. There is a predictability that surfaces throughout the movie, but never overshadows the uniquely South African characters, language and settings. 

The events do, however, unfold almost too conveniently at times. Lenny is unceremoniously dumped by hijackers at a roadside spot where he is found by a man from the very village whose chief (played by Yule Masiteng) has been following Lenny's career since his soccer playing days in the 70s. The reunion takes place at the same time that the chief happens to be in need of a coach for his local team of amateurs, the Mighty Spears, comprising nine strikers, one defender and a goalkeeper.

The match they are to play has huge stakes. Evil property development firm Execon, who have greedy plans to transform the beautiful landscape of the village into a golf estate, orchestrates the game that pits David versus Goliath – and the winner gets to keep the land. But, as the movie's karmic tagline proudly declares, 'Everything happens for a reason'.

All too often, South African movies feel honour-bound to tell a story that is heavy with the weight of  the dark history of this country, and while it is necessary to tell these stories, they can be draining. Thankfully, Finding Lenny does not fall into this trap. Through Lenny’s work with the Mighty Spears we see an embracing of different cultures and ways of looking at a world ruled by money and prestige. There is a fabulous moment during the interval of the climactic match when the Spears decide to shed their modern soccer kits and studded boots in favour of traditional clothing. Their raw passion comes alive as they play the game the way they know best: with the ground beneath their bare feet and the wind on their backs.

The performances throughout are impressive, but it's Hilton himself, who plays outside his comfort zone and offers casting agents a viable option when searching for their next leading man.

Soccer is portrayed as the positive and binding force which brings both communities and families, foes and friends together. It's the perfect primer for the tide of soccer fever already sweeping across the world prior to the 2010 World Cup. Look out for former Bafana Bafana heroes Mark Fish and Phil Masinga in cameo roles.

Finding Lenny is as local and lekker as it gets. Give it a try and you’ll score well!



Finding Lenny is a refreshing and proudly South African comedy that will spark the soccer fan in you. A perfect primer for mounting 2010 fever.

Grant Aubin 2009/04/05 2:47 PM
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Gosh this was a mediocre movie. Drab, boring and digitally shot. Still, in a country where drivel like Mr Bones 2 can make a killing a the box-office, it make a few bob. The type of people who go and watch local low budget movies like this don't read reviews, so why not be honest in you review. Somebody should give poor Barry Hilton a better script next time. If you enjoy quality films say away from this nonsense.
Henk 2009/04/07 8:39 AM
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My Cousin!!! What a guy!
Uncle 2009/04/07 8:48 AM
Why not promote entertaining films with real stories to tell, not mindless irrelevant drivel. Possibly the most irritating thing about this film is the ex-footballer cameos. Why must we cheapen SA films with silly non-actors? Why not just tell decent stories. Jerusalema would be a great example of this ideology in action. Tsotsi did more for SA in generating interest and thus respect than any ad or marketing campaign - Now if only the "powers that be" would open their eyes and see past their bottoms we could do more of the same.
terry 2009/04/07 9:41 AM
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My cousin should stick to his stage acts and adverts - way funnier off the big screen and if you want to attempt the big screen-it must be for a comedy position!
Concerned Cousin 2009/04/07 12:40 PM
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Unpatriotic comments. I'd rather watch a boring, digital shot movie like "Finding Lenny" than some sci-fi mambo jambo hollywood nonsense. Proudly South Africa
Jenny 2009/04/07 12:54 PM
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So often we critize without putting thought into it ! In Lenny the moviemakers have tried to create a simple feel good story based on typically south african people.
Losing Lenny 2009/04/07 1:50 PM
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I have to ask myself the question: What exactly is one achieving by shooting down a movie like this when it doesn't try too hard to be anything else other than an unpretentious, harmless, light hearted bit of fun? If we wanted the Academy Awards' opinion, we'd ask for it! Grumpy old men...
Robert 2009/04/07 3:57 PM
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Barry is the best.
chez 2009/04/07 4:41 PM
Man what a bunch of grumpy old men! Viva South Africa Viva. I plan to see the movie on the weekend and have nagged all i know to see it too. Barry is great and very funny, what more can we ask. He never promised us "Titanic" (thank heavens) and we all need some light entertainment - judging by some of the above comments!!
Casper 2009/04/07 4:45 PM
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It was a great entertaining movie
CF 2009/04/07 5:15 PM
Grant Aubin needs to relax. What we really need is a laugh - much along the lines of Mr Bones and all his drivel. Go back to being a D-grade movie critic for The Weekend Post dude!
Bra G 2009/04/08 12:13 AM
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Barry Hilton is a comedic genius. I have seen Barry live many times- always highly entertaining and have yet to hear him cuss. He is a national treasure and his movie debut whilst competent, he must make the transition to Hollywood type movies with bigger budgets and better promotion.Congratulations Barry and shine on! Bra G.
motswanagape 2009/04/08 8:40 AM
I 'm hoping to c the movie soon.I'd enjoy a Sa African movie comedy on anyday 4r a good belly laugh.Hope it'll b more like THE GDS MUST B CRAZY 1 and Oh Schucks,;but definately not Mr Bones 2 or worse.
Grant Aubin 2009/04/14 11:06 AM
I'm glad you need a laugh CF - but this movie just didn't amuse me. It was awful. "Jerusalema" was a good South African film. And Bra G - I'm stoked that you think Barry Hilton is a comedic genius. He's sometimes quite funny and he has a lovely face. But comedic genius is pushing it a bit.
Rene 2010/06/28 12:50 PM
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Is it going to win any awards? No. Did I have a smile on my face after watching it? Yes. And I think that is exactly what they wanted with the movie, and they managed that. I enjoyed it.
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