ANUVAHOOD (15): On General Release Friday 18th March
You may have heard good things about Anuvahood, but they’re lies. All lies.
This is the story of Kenneth, aka ‘K’, a preening, self-satisfied little prick who spends the majority of his life disappointing everyone he comes into contact with. In fact, within 5 minutes of the start, someone has punched him in the face and it all seems entirely understandable.
Now Kenneth quits his job at ‘Laimsbury’s’ – no, seriously – and his mother is really cross with him because he can’t help with the rent. He fancies himself as an MC, but can’t make it because he has no talent whatsoever – a real feat considering some of the utter shite on the film’s soundtrack.
K, who is an unusually stupid young man, proceeds to spend most of his time with his mates, just hanging around. This particular group of friends is an amalgamation of just about every stereotype relating to urban youths that you can think of. Oh, and Chinese people. And, after K meets an exchange student called Enrique, Spanish people. Tremendously clever stuff.
There’s also a bully called Tyrone, and older chap who frequently robs K and his ‘crew’. Tyrone is supposed to be amusing because he’s an over the top character with a speech impediment. That’s because laughing at disability is funny, you see.
To cut a long story short, K tries to be a drug dealer, gets robbed by Tyrone and so breaks into the bully’s house in order to liberate his belongings. Tyrone finds out, and comes to fight him in a big scene supposed to be a reference to the finale of Ice Cube’s Friday. But nowhere near as good. At the end, K has learned his lesson and returns to his job at Laimsbury’s to make his parents proud, leaving you wondering why he couldn’t just have quit his job, taken a beating and gone back to work – getting the whole thing over and done with in 15 minutes.
This film is meant to be a spoof of all those gritty urban films like Kidulthood and Adulthood, showing another side to urban life. But the hallmark of any good spoof is clever humour, not simply taking what someone else has done and removing any subtlety. The jokes are so forced and blatant that what little humour they could have carried is completely lost and the references to other films are just reminders of what you could be watching. Plus the brutal fight scene at the end does anything but lighten the view of what life in the inner city is like and seems totally out of sync with the rest of the film.
One major flaw is that K is an instantly dislikeable lead character, which means the whole purpose of the film – following him on his journey to enlightenment – is lost because it’s hard to care less when he gets robbed, beaten and generally put down. Most of it is a direct result of his own stupidity, anyway.
Also, 75% of the dialogue is the same old posturing and bickering over and over again, with K telling everyone how great he is and getting argued down. Even if it was funny the first time, by the fourth or fifth rehashing of the same material, all but the most ardent fan of urban movies will the gnawing at the arm of the seat, hoping that the suffering will end soon.
Anuvahood is a real trial to watch, and has the distinction of being a comedy where almost all the attempts at humour fall flat. If someone recommends Anuvahood to you, they almost certainly don’t have your best interests at heart, and want nothing more than to see you sad. So there you go, Anuvahood – it shows you who your friends really are.