Schuks! Pay Back the Money!

2015-08-27 08:07

What it's about:

After losing rugby’s holy grail, the Currie Cup trophy, Schuks sets off on a hilarious journey to pay for his sins. The Sports Minister offers Schuks a lifeline to create a documentary film that shows South Africa in a positive light, in lieu of a R 1-million fine. As the documentary takes shape, the trophy traverses its own perilous journey as it moves from two clueless crooks to an enterprising traffic officer, as well as a conniving pawnbroker, among others. True to form, the “documentary” features a series of hidden camera gags, featuring unsuspecting South Africans and a host of famous personalities and celebrities.

What we thought:

Whether you like it or not, Leon Schuster will be forever ingrained in the South African comedy landscape, important in shaping it as well as drawing criticism for it. Few can say they didn’t grow up with his old movies and gags, and many believe his best days to be behind him. Although the years have not been kind, he still has a couple of laughs in him, and in his latest installment a couple of on-point gags helps you through an otherwise dreary, unfunny story.

In the film, Schuks gets in trouble with the Sports Minister (Desmond Dube) after losing the famous Currie Cup to a scheming duo Bossie and Savage (Ivan Lucas and Gerrit Schoonhoven). Instead of paying a hefty fine, Schuks is tasked to make a positive documentary about the people of South Africa. The main focus of the film is the pranks, but the film would have been much better if this stupid plot was left out completely.

You can’t deny Schuster’s brilliance when it comes to tugging at the loose threads of South African society, resulting not only in hilarious results, but also revealing a little more of what’s beneath the veneer of the Rainbow Nation. The best example of this was when Schuster, disguised as a pro-Zuma municipality worker, installs toilets on the streets of a white-looking suburb because “they are fixing pipes” and the residents won’t have water at their home. The outrage this of course taunts is funny not just because they take a few swipes at the prankster, but also when you think about the realities in townships where toilets in homes is a luxury. You don’t see suburbia getting up in arms over that.

There are of course the expected Eskom jokes, taxi escapades, car guard shenanigans and mocking of celebrities (of which the ultimate jewel of course is Robbie Wessels thinking he’s going to jail for reckless driving), but Schuster has added an Italian and a Chinese to his plethora of characters. Extremely stereotyped, but that’s what Schuster is all about, playing on people’s prejudice.

And here and there his own crew gives him a taste of his own medicine.

As many as there were good gags, there were also terrible ones that induce intense cringing. The car guard spraying people’s cars were not in good taste, and the makeup for Schuster’s disguises were abominations. It’s surprising that his older films had better makeup than his latest, which is also a result of people recognising Schuster way too easily these days. But he still managed to fool many.

As mentioned, the plot around the gags was an absolute travesty, not garnering any laughter except for maybe Bossie and Savage (pulled from the archives of Sweet ‘n Short). A contrived story punctuated with low humour and out-dated slapstick, the film should have stuck to the “fake European doing a South Afican documentary” gimmick rather than torture the audience with puns like “curry cup”.

Unfortunately, Schuster is getting too old to get “klapped by tannies”, and I think he would make an excellent producer and director for a new generation of pranksters and comedians, if he were willing to pass on the torch. Love or hate him, he at least ended the film with a positive message for South Africa, and that despite it’s many problems, it’s still our country.

Read more on:    leon schuster  |  movies

barend 2015/08/30 07:02
it is a shame that there is still this bad movies ,it makes us all to common, LEON IS A REAL HAM ACTOR .
Charles Bolland 2015/09/02 11:46
this fool should retire.
Shaun 2015/09/09 20:03
This is a complete shocker. I took my 11 year old son to watch the movie and the language was very foul and inappropriate for the 10-12 PG rating. The comedy was common and below the belt. Leon i used to be a big fan, but this is a miss. Do not waste your time
Charles Bolland 2015/09/10 11:06
This man must retire, his movies are useless and they belong in the old south Africa... I am sure the ticket sales will confirm that he is useless.
Charles Bolland 2015/09/10 11:07
Learn from Leon, Kids always save for retirement so you don't have to humiliate yourself in your old age by pushing out rubbish and attaching your name to it.
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