What it's about:
Janice and Donald Jakes have fallen out of love and into Witness Protection. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time sends a teenage boy and his parents on a journey where they’ll rediscover what it means to love each other.
What we thought:It’s been a good year for the South African film industry. For the past few months there has been a constant stream of local films on the cinema line-up.And while I am really excited about the spike in local productions there have been some hits and misses.
The Jakes are Missing is a good attempt at trying something a bit different. It’s a romantic comedy with strong themes of family and community.Janice (Mampho Brescia) and Donald (Pop Jerrod) Banks have fallen out of love. Their music obsessed son Simon (Mpho Sebeng) ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses a murder. To escape wannabe gang leader Fred (Jody Abrahams) and he’s awkward crew, the family is placed into the witness protection program.The city slickers find themselves out of their comfort zone in the quaint little town of Pumpkin Valley (yes, really).
The town has some interesting characters: nosy neighbours (Celeste Nutili, Nicole Bailey, Heidi Mollentze) a suspicious town planner (Dirk Stoltz) the local reverend (Darlington Michaels), his wife (Abigail Kubeka) and their adoptive daughter (Nomzamo Mbatha) who Simon develops a crush on.Initially the Banks find themselves struggling to fit in, especially Janice. But this little forage into small town life eventually turns out to be the best thing that could happen to this family as they find their way back to each other.This film is far removed from the reality of life in South Africa. I had the feeling that I was watching a film taking place in an alternative universe. The plot, the storylines and characters are very Americanised. In fact it is very similar to the 1997 Tim Allen, Kirsty Allie movie For Richer or Poorer.With that said there were some enjoyable moments mostly attributed to the ensemble cast of familiar faces. Jody Abrahams and his offbeat crew provided some good laughs as did the trio of neighbours.Seeing Darlington Michaels aka Georgie Zambdela as the local pastor was a treat. The stars of the show are Mpho and Nomzamo. The pair had great chemistry and it’s really hard to resist their bright eye and big smiles charm.The film doesn’t reinvent the wheel and if you’re nothing into this type of story stay far away.If you’re looking for some escapism it’s a pleasant enough story that the entire family will enjoy.
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