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Schuks Tshabalala's Survival Guide to South Africa

2010-05-31 12:48
 
Schuks Tshabalala's Survival Guide to South Africa

What it's about:

Schuks Tshabalala (Leon Schuster) and his sidekick, Shorty (Alfred Ntombela), are commissioned by the 2010 tourism body to produce a movie as a visual guide and aid for foreigners coming to South Africa for the World Cup. With a diverse group of tourists to educate about the many weird and wonderful things about SA, they set up a series of gags to demonstrate what makes this country so unique.

What we thought:

When I spoke to Leon Schuster two years ago around the release of Mr Bones 2, we talked about how the famously rugby-obsessed comic felt about an American director making a movie about the Springboks' 1995 World Cup triumph. And while Clint Eastwood certainly missed a trick by not casting Schuster as Louis Luyt in the Oscar-nominated Invictus, Schuster had his eye on another prize.

It's a no-brainer that Schuster would use the 2010 World Cup as his canvas for a more uniquely South African take on what foreigners can look forward to when visiting our shores. Yes, South Africans love soccer, and hate pesky bureaucratic types telling them that their vuvzelas breach some made-up loudness code (if only it were real!) and need to be trimmed down to penny whistle length. Trust Schuks to bravely wade into that minefield to get South Africans to laugh at themselves.

That's just one of the many pranks Schuster, as his Schuks persona, unleashes on a few unsuspecting South Africans. Although heavy on gags, this movie isn’t purely based around them, the way some of Schuster's biggest hits such as You Must Be Joking! (1986) and Oh Schucks...It's Schuster! (1989) were. This time he's dispensed of the exclamation marks and opted for a tongue-twister of a title that should not confuse anyone as to the contents of the product.

The entire movie is very loosely strung together, with two… no, make that three, distinct parts. Schuks is given the day to take a group of tourists (a German, an Indian, a Dutchman, a Brazilian, an Irishwoman) around Cape Town while we see him and Shorty prank some people on TV screens in a classroom, and just to add to the randomness of it all, there are a few Bollywood-style musical number thrown in. True to Schuster's style, some of it just doesn’t make sense. Why would all these tourists visit South Africa before the World Cup? How does scaring a mortuary job applicant teach anyone anything about South Africa, other than, like everyone else, they're freaked out by 'dead' bodies that suddenly rise?

But who care about the details when it comes to Schuster? It's all about making you laugh, and no doubt it will have most audiences rolling in the aisles. Schuks disguises himself as all kinds of simpletons - a Zimbabwean waiter who takes football fever a tad too far, an old black man who reclaims the Sea Point promenade as his own due to an order handed to his ancestors by Queen Victoria, a buxom metro traffic officer who rubs a few unsuspecting motorists the wrong way. If you've ever laughed at a Schuster gag, you'll know what to expect.

The gags get more interesting when Schuster plays an overweight Dutch reporter whose attempts to interview Helen Zille, Alan Boesak and Rob van Vuuren are interrupted by a pesky (and loud) vuvuzela salesman. Watching a fat-suited Schuster body-slam the poor guy while Zille vainly tries to restore order is pretty funny, although her girly giggles throughout also suggest that the jig was up. Van Vuuren, in particular, gets a great moment to shine. Has Schuster finally found a worthy successor?

The musical numbers scattered throughout don’t really contribute anything to the movie because they aren’t very funny or memorable, at least not in the easily digestible way that the visual gags are, although some people will probably need them to get their breath back.

I challenge you to recall any of the jokes in Schuks Tshabalala as readily as you would his supermarket X-Ray machine gag or his classic Rainbow Yoghurt commercial setup from The Millennium Menace (1999). Those were some great, never-to-be-improved moments. Nothing here comes close to it. We probably won't get to see Schuster get into these many scrapes again; he's admitted that the physical demands of the job are taking its toll on him, and while it certainly doesn’t measure up to his previous efforts, this inoffensive, mildly amusing 'Visual Guide to SA' fits in nicely with the Schuster oeuvre - it's nonsensical, rough-around-the-edges, and utterly chaotic. Couldn't imagine it any other way.


SA's favourite prankster is back, and this time he takes aim at soccer fever, tourists, and Helen Zille.

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Add Your Review

(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Patrick Letsatsi 2010-05-27 08:55 AM
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I will watch any movie made by Schuks, i dont care what others say, but he rocksssss!
Nkosinathi 2010-05-27 10:16 AM
Will watch anything by Leon
HATER 2010-05-27 11:35 AM
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SHUCKS SHUCKS SHUCKS!! WHAT A BIG YAWN
HATER 2010-05-27 11:35 AM
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SHUCKS SHUCKS SHUCKS!! WHAT A BIG YAWN
Di 2010-05-27 12:43 PM
to "hater" (what an awe-inspiring name-your mother must be soooo proud) don't take life so seriously. one does not go to a shuster movie for intellectual stimulation. why are you even reading a review about his movie if you feel the way you do. try finding your inner child.
Ousus 2010-05-27 02:20 PM
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I went to the movie's premiere in Cape Town on Tuesday and I (and the 4 fully booked cinemas) loved every second. And, without spoiling the movie for other people, I think there was quite a few memorable moments1
DrakeSummers 2010-05-27 07:51 PM
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'Ol Shucks is amazing! cant wait to see the movie!
kobus 2010-05-29 09:24 AM
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all shuks movies are grate at least he brings some lafter to the world
Wallas 2010-05-29 09:29 AM
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Watched the movie last night and what a bunch of crap. That's not real spy camera action! all actors and in on the act(and you can notice this clearly). Even Helen Zille tried a bit too hard to make it real. Sooo obviaaass. This is a absolute waste of money if you ask me. Rather go watch Iron Man.
MBP 2010-05-31 09:13 AM
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Excellent movie, my WHOLE family enjoyed it. Schuster ROCKS!!!!!!! @Di... Well said!!!!
Gerald 2010-06-04 12:40 PM
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Hallo Leon,I will watch every movie of you. Perhaps i want to tell you that every person came to me about the shoot on the golfcourse at Stellenbosch that i also play in? Thanks a lot Gerald
cardo mtshayi 2010-06-04 01:29 PM
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schuks rocks guys!
Dilip 2010-06-10 05:28 AM
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GREAT MOVIE- DEFINATELY RECOMMENDABLE. GOOD WORK GUYS, MADE ME LAUGH A LOT
Martin Storm 2010-06-11 09:44 AM
There's another cool movie coming out of SA - and it's a horror nogal! If chills & screams are your kinda thing check out the official teaser trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkapaWAVGfM
Gameni 2010-06-21 02:01 PM
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Very good for us who enjoy watching movies after hardwork and studying.
Sibusiso Mgudlwa 2010-06-28 10:07 PM
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This movie is very good,i think i will watch it again, because it is very fun the snake part it was good and dead person,The taxi drivers are cowards laughing out loud Leon Schuster you rock man
justine 2010-06-30 03:56 PM
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we shud b proud of our s.a movies nd we shud encourage them to more i am proud of leon nd da rest of the crew
stolz 2010-07-09 04:50 PM
great movie, the best that was ever produced by leon
osiris 2010-07-10 07:00 PM
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it is the best shucks movie and laughed ourselves to death. excellent 2010 memorabilia
osiris 2010-07-10 07:02 PM
Shaheema Barodien needs to go back to school to understand how to rate reviews because rating movies is an art.
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