Semi-Soet

2012-02-21 12:56
 
What it's about:

Jaci (Anel Alexander) is a workaholic ready to do anything for her company. Desperate to save the small advertising agency from being bought and dismantled by a ruthless businessman known as The Jackal (Nico Panagio), Jaci hires a male model to pretend to be her fiancé in order to win a contract. However, she ends up mistaking The Jackal for her model and an elaborate series of mishaps ensues.

What we thought:

Now where have we seen this story before? Ruthless businessman who dismantles companies – Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman. Businesswoman who pretends to have a fiancé to ensure a promotion at work? Jennifer Aniston in Picture Perfect.

When I asked the writer and star Sandra Vaughn (Sandra plays Jaci’s sidekick and colleague Karla) about these glaring similarities, she simply put it down to them being typical rom-com vehicles, and they (the producers) were trying to make SA’s first Afrikaans rom-com.

However, there’s a big difference between sticking to the formula and compiling your storyboard like it’s a mosaic made out of a 90s TV guide.

I really do value the effort put into making a South African movie that’s not a sad trip down apartheid memory lane or a slapstick farce-fest. This movie could have been saved by a good, honest edit and more faith in South African stories and audiences. Vaughn has written some hilarious one-liners that South African audiences will really appreciate. But when you have to pick the gems out of a pile of clichés, it becomes too much hard work.

Nico Panagio was born to play a rom-com lead; those dark looks and that camera-ready smile are all he and his character need in this movie. Anel Alexander is also a lovely leading lady, but both lay on the campy exuberance too thick and sometimes it feels like you’re watching a toothpaste advert.

The storyline is also extremely convoluted; from an office environment to a wine farm and a studio shoot in between, I’m once again left weighing up the effort required against the pay-off.

Other disasters include a distracting tango interlude each time The Jackal’s sidekick Hertjie thinks of a girl and absolutely awful sound editing – bells ringing before the rope had been pulled and car doors closing with no sound. Ai toggie.

Diaan Lawrenson is an absolute treat as Jaci’s ex-fiance’s new girlfriend, Chadrie. The intellectually challenged gym bunny gets almost all the good lines. She’s a lot like Lawrenson’s day-job character, 7de Laan’s Paula, but better.

This mini 7de Laan reunion (Nico, Anel, Sandra and Diaan all starred in the soap at one stage) is broken up by comedian Louw Venter who plays The Jackal’s lawyer and sidekick. He’s totally underwhelming in the role and his comedic chops are stifled somewhat by lame lines.

While there’s much to criticise about this blatant, crass attempt at a rom-com, what makes me really sad is that it had potential. Why not create a new genre of Afrikaans rom-coms instead of trying to rip off Hollywood? I have to confess that I found the movie full of laughs; I’m just not sure they were for the right reasons. 
 

SA’s first attempt at an Afrikaans rom-com, starring mostly 7de Laan alumni, tries so hard to fit the mould, it ends up being nothing more than a cheap imitation.

Amy 2012/02/21 11:07 AM
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41 000 people watched this movie over the weekend - make the sums. Great Movie! Negative much?
Mischa Slabbert 2012/02/21 11:32 AM
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I am an Afrikaans speaking person, who does not like Afrikaans movies, because they are common most of the time. In fact in some cases, describing them as common is an insult to common. I have a deal with my girlfriend, where we make turns choosing the move we watch. I usually go for the action and she goes for the chic flieks… I was utterly disappointed when I learned that we were going to see Semi Soet, and I made sure she knew that I am going to get her back, because I do not like junk like this…. When I walked out of the theatre…. Well I have to amid. I will buy the dvd. It was a very good move. In my view the best Afrikaans movie the last 20 years!!! After reading writers comments, I want to ask this person to take her pretentious view, and please keep it to herself. Yes it is not the best editing in the world, or even the best sound effects, but it was a great movie, and something to be proud of if you are a South African movie fan!!! There is still hope for our movie industry!!!! It is worth your while. Go and see it!!!! Proudly South African!!!!!!!!
JT 2012/02/21 11:46 AM
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My husband and I watched this movie last week, and we left the cinema with a smile on our faces. The movie put us in a good mood. It is not a heavy drama or anything, just light, fun and entertaining to watch. The same goes for Platteland - the movie. Go and watch it. I cannot wait to buy the DVD.
That Guy 2012/02/21 12:01 PM
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@Amy - make the sums :) dis "do the math" poppie.
Stella 2012/02/21 12:14 PM
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Please go and see this wonderful "feel good" movie. It's great!!!
Renee 2012/02/21 1:02 PM
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Double thumbs up to That Guy's comment - lol!
Eve 2012/02/21 1:10 PM
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I absolutely loved this movie, I am a rom-com fanatic and this movie is one of the best I have seen!!! What a great South African cast, great story line and a laugh a second!!! And who cares if the movie resembles those that come from Hollywood, all rom-coms some way or another resemble one another... This is a must see and I can't wait to get the DVD!!!
Patrick 2012/02/21 1:11 PM
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I thought is was good fun - enjoyed it!
Henno 2012/02/21 1:55 PM
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This was a great movie. I recommend it highly!
bT 2012/02/21 2:11 PM
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Not only did SemiSoet take the South African movie industry UP a notch (or two), it was also highly enjoyable and good, clean fun! Sam, judging by your readers' comments, I really don't think that you are aware of what YOUR readers/followers like... unlike SemiSoet.
Air 2012/02/21 2:28 PM
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Great movie !
Timonza 2012/02/21 4:25 PM
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Yoh - have you even watched Pretty Woman? I couldn't read any further after your highly inaccurate portral of Pretty Woman, whose plot was really quite simple . . . If you messed this up, you probably mangled this poor soapies plot as well . . .
Timonza 2012/02/21 4:25 PM
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Yoh - have you even watched Pretty Woman? I couldn't read any further after your highly inaccurate portral of Pretty Woman, whose plot was really quite simple . . . If you messed this up, you probably mangled this poor soapies plot as well . . .
Lc 2012/02/21 8:32 PM
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What a negative review for a great South African movie. I hate watching afrikaans movies because it's mostly associated with being common. This movie restored my hope in the SA film industry! I enjoyed the movie a lot and it was completely what was to be expected from a romcom. It's such a feel good movie and proudly South African! Lol I read the review before I watched the movie and it blew my expectations away! I probably have to thank the author for it. The cast is great and it doesn't matter if all the cast members was on 7e Laan at a time its not the ONLY thing they have on their CVs. If I'm not mistaken most of them have done various other projects, tv shows and theater productions. Not just 7e Laan. (the author sounds like a 7e Laan hater...) They are all great actors! Especially Nico Pangio in the romantic lead. Go watch this feel good movie!!!
Jude 2012/02/21 10:30 PM
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What a truly fun, happy film! So what if there's a formula - it works!! It worked even BEFORE Pretty Woman, by the way... This movie, amongst others, shows that the South African movie industry is indeed up and coming. Also nice to see a movie, in Afrikaans, where none of the actors are disguised with shoe polish, wearing overly large false teeth or resorting to fart-humour to produce "comedic" effect!! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and sincerely hope this is a new benchmark for all SA films.
Bheula de Jager 2012/02/22 8:34 AM
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Hierdie fliek was uitstekend! Ek sal enige iemand aanraai om dit te kyk. Elke emosie word wakker binne jou :)My eerlike opinie----Nog die beste fliek wat in Suid Afrika gemaak is :)Trots om AFRIKAANS te wees.
E 2012/02/22 8:53 AM
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Seriously Sam?! Did we watch the same movie? Yes, this isnt the most original movie i have seen, and no, its not going to to walk away with international acclaim and nominations... but i thought it was lovely. It was beautifully shot. There were some scenes that i really wanted to have more of (especially on the wine farm, the path and the pig, and some more roadtrip footage...!). But this was made for a certain audience - an audience who is ready for LOVE in MODERN TIMES in AFRIKAANS. They dont care or have to care that some of the 'romcom vehicle' was familiar. I am an avid movie monster, and i watch at least one movie a day... SEMI-SOET was great for what it was - and the broader South African public SHOULD go and see it. Dont discourage them... rather send someone that understands the audience to go and see the movie, so that they can write a review for the audience that it was meant for...
Jeanette 2012/02/22 9:24 AM
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Vir my was die fliek so-so, op plekke selfs bietjie simpel. Platteland en Liefling was baie beter - in my opinie.
Michael Barrett 2012/02/22 9:28 AM
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I left the cinema with a huge smile on my face. Formula or no formula, the film made me feel better about life and if that does not epitomise true art, then nothing will!
Francois 2012/02/22 10:00 AM
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Great fun, feel good movie! Proudly SA! Poor review Sam, you missed the point I think! Ligthen up Sam!
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