Sweet ‘N’ Short

Co-writer Leon Schuster plays Sweet, a hard-drinking, hard-living, sexist TV sports commentator. The opening scenes are set in 1989, "before the changes," per a title. Sweet behaves badly towards g.f. Joanna Weinberg and is on the point of losing his job to rival sportscaster Casper De Vries. A blow to the head just as he's won a large sum of money results in a coma that lasts almost three years; when Sweet awakens, Nelson Mandela is president, F.W. DeKlerk is leader of the opposition and right-wing Boers live in white townships (it all turns out to be a dream, however).

Co-writer Leon Schuster plays Sweet, a hard-drinking, hard-living, sexist TV sports commentator. The opening scenes are set in 1989, “before the changes,” per a title. Sweet behaves badly towards g.f. Joanna Weinberg and is on the point of losing his job to rival sportscaster Casper De Vries. A blow to the head just as he’s won a large sum of money results in a coma that lasts almost three years; when Sweet awakens, Nelson Mandela is president, F.W. DeKlerk is leader of the opposition and right-wing Boers live in white townships (it all turns out to be a dream, however).

With the help of Alfred Short (Alfred Ntombela), an ultracute black boy, Sweet sets about getting back his job, his money and his girl. The jokes include a long sequence in which Sweet disguises himself as a black African, some broad comedy at the expense of the arch-conservative Boers, and an overlong rugby match.

This is simple stuff for undemanding audiences, but indicates that a comedy tradition is alive and well in South Africa.

Sweet 'N' Short

(Comedy -- South African -- Color)

Production: A UIP release of a Torkon-Koukos-Troika production. Produced by Andre Scholtz, Carl Fischer. Executive producer, Edgar Bold. Directed by Gray Hofmeyr. Screenplay, Hofmeyr, Leon Schuster. Camera (color), James Robb; editor, Johan Lategan; music, DonClarke, Wendy Oldfield, Kalla Bremer; production design, JonJon Lambun; costumes, Loli Repanis; sound, Rudiger Payrhuber; stunts, Rolly Jansen; assistant director, Graham Hickson. Reviewed at Hoyts Centre 2, Sydney, Aug. 12, 1993. Running time: 90 min. Sweet Coetzee ... Leon Schuster George ... Casper De Vries Sandy Stewart ... Joanna Weinberg Alfred Short ... Alfred Ntombela Bossie ... Ivan D. Lucas Acheerfully simple slapstick comedy from South Africa, this 1991 pic was a hit on its home turf and is now getting its first international bookings in Australia via United Intl. Pictures. Since much of the humor depends on knowledge of South African politics, and since in-jokes that just don't travel abound, pic faces a rockier road than the country's previous breakout hit "The Gods Must Be Crazy." This said, co-writer and director Gray Hofmeyr unquestionably knows how to stage slapstick sequences, and there are many genuine laughs in the picture. But there are a good many yawns as well.

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