ANYONE who attended the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this year could count themselves fortunate if they had seen either Siv Ngesi or Rob Van Vuuren in their stand-up routines.
If you didn’t though – here’s a great bonus. The two twin- blade-sharp comics together on the big screen in a movie – though while certainly not an original idea – allows them to give vent to their talents in a thoroughly slapstick, albeit sometimes rather corny, but mostly extremely funny storyline.
It’s a body swapping number which has been exhausted by Hollywood, but given a South African vernacular. Director Rodger pulls it off surprisingly well.
Sharky Majola (Ngesi) is a con trying to straighten out his life, while boozy police detective Jan Venter (Van Vuuren) has an anger management problem as far as his ex-wife’s new beau (and his car) are concerned that has ended up with his suspension and a job as security guard at a science lab. Sharky, going for broke with one last job to tie his criminal debts up, has to break into the lab to steal some DNA exchange concoction and – hey, presto! – they of course wake up to discover that they are each other.
And so begins a laugh-a-minute tangle between the two as they attempt to undo this state of affairs which has them in the ultimate South African culture shock scenario.
The repartee is superb – but of course it would be as they are masters of the genre.
As they have accomplished on stage with their original takes on the tons of humour to be found in issues of race when everyone makes an effort to lighten up, so the pair transfer that rapid-fire mischief into the movie.
With Ngesi having to become the Afrikaner and Van Vuuren, a Zulu dude, the bad accents (deliberate, no doubt) add even more zest to the pot.
It may not have the kind of really big punch at the end that you would expect, but for what it offers, it’s an hour and a half of “double feature” entertainment that you will find yourself chuckling at for no other reason than these guys know how to make an audience see how funny we really can be.