Anel Alexander and Nico Panagio in Semi-soet.


DIRECTOR: Joshua Rous

CAST: Anel Alexander, Nico Panagio, Sandra Vaughn, Louw Venter, Diaan Lawrenson, Paul du Toit, Corine du Toit

Louis Minnaar


RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes


The strange thing about local movies is that you want to cut them some slack, but at the same time perhaps focus with a bit more angst in the hope that it will do well.

We’re talking romantic comedy after all, no brain surgery needed to get it. But this is the first one (we think) in Afrikaans with a cast and production team of bright young things, which means, fingers crossed, good news for the future of local film. Not that they’re new to the medium.

Most of this team have worked together before with star/producer Anel Alexander and hubby /producer James Alexander starring in their first movie Discreet, also directed by Joshua Rous a few years ago. They smartly bring others on board, the experience of Sandra Vaughn for example, who is both the most sensible comic relief as well as the scriptwriter, although all of them were involved with the story idea.

Fantastic idea to give subtitles which immediately broadens the audience. And as we’re talking young-ish from a cast and production point of view, this is also what one wants to see reflected on screen: contemporary South Africans creating their vision of what is hip and happening.

They’re getting there but seem to let it slip with among others too much harping on the tired gay theme to get laughs. Thank goodness we’re not still scraping the race barrel, but hey, why not go for sexual orientation? Still? In the new millennium? In Africa?

The whole romantic comedy take is a refreshing one and most of what they’re doing, works – almost.

There’s a confidence and a nod to the audience that this is formulaic but they’ll make it work.

The sad lot of the movie though is that everything about it is almost. The characters, dialogue, storyline all have something going for them – from the contemporary slant to the very cool Joburg setting to the winelands spectacle, which should have been a more edgy and less predictable destination.

Why go for pace and then allow an experienced actor like Minnaar (Erfsondes, District 9 and Invictus) to slip back into lecture mode as if he’s stepped on to the wrong sound stage? Yes, there’s a thumbs up, because they seem to have what it takes but even if it’s better than the first effort, they’re not quite there.

I’m crossing fingers it might be third time lucky, yet predict they will not feel too shabby about their pulling power at the box office this time round.