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Mad Buddies

2012-06-26 07:31
 
Mad Buddies
What it's about:

Boetie (played by Leon Schuster) has a nasty run-in with cop Beast (Kennether Nkosi) while on the hunt for rhino poachers. Some years later they clash once again, this time at the wedding of the daughter of the Minister of Tourism (Alfred Ntombela). Their violent display gives calculating TV producer Kelsey (Tanit Phoenix) the idea to cast Boetie and Beast in a reality show which forces them to get along as they trek on foot from KZN to Gauteng – only neither of them know they're on TV.

What we thought:

I am well aware that attempting any type of critical assessment of a Leon Schuster is a minefield. And I realise that what is to follow below is just, like, my opinion, man. Schuster movies themselves don't particularly aspire to any of the stuff critics usually look out for in other movies.

But then, a Schuster production is not ever just another movie. It comes on the back of a massively lucrative and lengthy career for the South African funnyman who has subjected himself to all kinds of humiliations and won legions of fans in the process. There is a Schuster formula, and he'll be damned if he's going to mess with it.

Mad Buddies follows two years on from the box-office smash hit Shucks Tshabalala's Survival Guide to South Africa, which cashed in on the 2010 Soccer World Cup frenzy, and featured some scripted bits interspersed with ludicrous candid camera set ups, Schuster's real claim to fame throughout the 80s and 90s.

Mad Buddies is a fully scripted vehicle that attempts to capture the best of both worlds by setting up a scenario in which the white, Afrikaans Boetie and the black, angry Beast are thrown together in a Truman Show-style reality series they are clueless about, even as the whole country is drawn into their on-the-road battles.

What happens on the road has no chance of staying on the road as Boetie and Beast repeatedly come to blows over food, money, shelter and everything else under the sun. As their journey is flighted live on TV screens in the bars and bedrooms of South Africa, a kind of frenzy takes over the nation as ordinary people of every kind become invested in their public hostilities.

At the same time, Minister of Tourism Mr Mda (played by long-time Schuster sidekick Ntombela), who has orchestrated the entire farce as a means to win favour with the president (yes, there is a skinny-looking Zuma stand-in), is continually outraged by the lack of reconciliation unfolding on live TV and finds himself walking into doors and falling into pools of water at every turn. You almost start to feel sorry for him as the body blows come thick and fast.

In fact, Mad Buddies works on the presumption that there is no scene that cannot be enhanced by a poop joke, a penis inference, an awkward pratfall, a dig at homosexuals and large people, and the word "poephol" peppering the colourful and uniquely South African dialogue. It's just 90 minutes of Schuster and director Gray Hofmeyr shooting at easy targets.

If you've ever watched a Schuster film, you will be well versed on what to expect. But there's just no getting around how especially random the action of Mad Buddies is. Many of the skits fall flat due to lack of sufficient set-up. We should be caring about Boetie and Beast's fate because they lost toes, jobs and a promising Springbok career as a result of each other's ignorance, not because they can't find a toilet.

It goes without saying as well that the humour of Mad Buddies is of the most foolish and repulsive kind. Perhaps we've seen too many Schuster films over the decades, or Adam Sandler/Judd Apatow/fratboy American comedies, but there are only so many times a bowel movement or a rake in the face is going to raise breathless guffaws. South Africa might be one of the last outposts where this is going to ensure another multi-million rand haul for Schuster and his cohorts.

Mad Buddies does have its heart in the right place and offers a promising, if trite, story about two diverse, ordinary guys finding common ground in a world where what makes them different is what identifies them. Schuster and Nkosi give it all they've got and prove why they are two of South Africa's most likeable actors. They have a rapport that truly does speak to the nation, only it's been packaged so haphazardly all focus is lost in a whirl of nonsense bickering and, yes, more poop jokes.

And then there is a hopelessly distracting cameo from Mr Cell C himself, Trevor Noah, who for some reason finds himself in a small dorpie tavern, a human billboard there to halt the film every few minutes to plug his company. It's a few short scenes that would have served better on the cutting room floor. Wouldn't it have been more fun to bring back Rob van Vuuren, who was such a delightful presence in Shucks Tshabalala's Survival Guide to South Africa?

Tanit Phoenix at least brings some eye candy to the sorry state of the rest of the film, with a bit of a thankless role as the sexy producer who uses herself as an incentive for Boetie and Beast to make it to the finish line as friends.

For the audience it's an experience that feels almost as long and painful as it is for our gruesome twosome. Of course, none of that will matter to Schuster's legions of fans who know what to expect and will happily throw their money at his latest release, no matter how sloppy it is. The Schuster formula works because of its willing audience. But when will they start to expect more? Perhaps Schuster is better off hiding cameras away in discreet locations and seeing what unfolds?

Though I can identify the ONE scene in Mad Buddies that made me laugh: An aggravated Schuster yelling "You kakked in the car!" after Nkosi did just that. What can I say, it's all in the delivery.


Leon Schuster gets all the usual suspects back together in a haphazard and clichéd story about reconciliation that gets lost amongst all the poop jokes. Yes, you've seen it all before.

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

Snowpiercer

2014-10-10 10:59

Add Your Review

(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
for the children 6/21/2012 1:29 PM
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Not planing to watch it, or even entertain the thought. Schuster was funny when he first started out, now it is something that is more of a disgrace than anything else, something definitely for the kiddies.
Hairpiece 6/21/2012 2:03 PM
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Schuster is no Patrick Dempsey, wig or not. Why His type of movies are more excruciating than a root canal.
Andy 6/21/2012 2:32 PM
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This guy spews drivel
Frikkie 6/21/2012 3:23 PM
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If Leon Schuster can make a funny movie - why doesn't he - David Kau
Carl 6/21/2012 3:29 PM
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Rubbish. This guy is still stuck in the 80's.
Stewart 6/21/2012 3:43 PM
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Doesn't everbody know that Schuster's humour is dumb slapstick at best and mostly toilet humour? Only the intellectually challenged could really think it is funny! But then we have millions of such in SA, thus it will be a huge financial success I expect!
Point Blank 6/21/2012 4:04 PM
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Na, over him.
Paul 6/22/2012 8:26 AM
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Crap.
WILLIAM NKUNA 6/22/2012 8:42 AM
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Leon Schuster would be always one and the only in Mzansi,it goes without any doubt that he really is proud South African as he directley addresses the contries day to day issues in his movies,so big-up to Mad Buddies.
sandile 6/25/2012 12:11 PM
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nice muvi lyk it a lot it kept me in stiches
william ge 6/25/2012 1:38 PM
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excellent movie need to go watched it a second time as i missed i bit due to the fact i laughed so much. Leon is a good actor and movie maker if anyone thinks otherwise you get your pea brain and try get people to laugh so much that it hurts. laughter is the best medicine after all. well done Mr Leon you are good
JP 6/26/2012 7:41 AM
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I was a fan of the older movies, best being Oh Shucks, it's UNTAG! Doubt that I'll watch this before it's shows on SABC, and even then I might be more interested in the weather channel..
freek 6/26/2012 10:45 AM
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I won't watch it even if you paid me. How anybody can find Schuster movies funny is a mystery. The standard Schuster recipe consists of people stepping in crap, people falling in crap, and people taking a crap (usually because someone fed them laxatives) No people, lets grow up. Please.
Mack 6/27/2012 11:05 AM
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Okay...shut up if you don't like Schuster's movies. I just watched Mad Buddies and I couldn't stop laughing. This country can do without people who lack sense of humour and always look for negativity in anything that has "MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA" TAG. Great work, an dfunny whether you arte 'intelligent' or not
Jak 6/28/2012 12:12 PM
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I think he is better with candid camera films. He should make more of those!
Ninjin Vee 6/28/2012 5:22 PM
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Schuster had his days. He's no longer funny. Time for David Kau or Trevor Noah to make a movie! And Schuster's movies have nothing to do with being intelligent. On the contrary...
ND 7/1/2012 8:58 PM
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Absolute rubbish. This is without a doubt, Leon Schuster's worst movie. Definetly not a movie for children.
Shadow 7/4/2012 10:16 AM
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some parts were funny, otherwise, its a movie i could have waited to come out on DVD and NOT buy. Sick, crude "humour" Tanit cannot act either, she's incredibly Fake.
davekib daveki 10/12/2012 8:55 PM
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i love this movie its awesome
johan 10/23/2012 4:34 PM
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what a load of crap...dont even bother to watch it
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