Funny, feel-good football film

2009-04-03 00:00

A NEW South African comedy, starring “the cousin”, Barry Hilton, opens at NuMetro Cinemas in Pietermaritzburg today.

Finding Lenny tells the story of the luckless Lenny Vincent who keeps being told that “everything happens for a reason”. It’s what he hears when he’s relieved of his position as coach to the U11s at St Benedicts, when he’s fired from his job as a sportswriter at a daily newspaper and when his wife of 19 years leaves him for a hunky blonde stud.

So, when his only true friend in the world, David Markowitz (Russel Savadier), a highly neurotic, failed bookie, suggests they go drown their sorrows at a fancy restaurant, Lenny agrees, little realising that the restaurant has been targeted by a heist gang, who decide to bundle him into the back of a car and drop him off in a rural village.

Fortunately, the chief of the village (played by Yule Masiteng) is a Madiba-like man, with an overwhelming passion for soccer … and Lenny finds his true self by helping the chief’s soccer team and by standing with the villagers against a developer who wants to build a golf estate on their land.

The idea for the film first emerged five years ago when director, Neal Sundstrom, was looking to write and produce a South African comedy. He identified Hilton as one of the country’s best-loved comedians and approached him with the idea of working with Moviworld and to create this film.

Sundstrom wanted the story to be uniquely South African and to be heart-warming rather than packed full of slapstick humour.

Hilton, who said he had been astounded by how much the opening scenes of the film mirrored his own life, wasn’t concerned about making the transition from stage to screen.

Sundstrom said that all the villagers and soccer crowd used in Finding Lenny were from the neighbouring township of Brazzaville. “For most this was their first time in front of a camera and they did a fantastic job,” he added.

The most challenging aspect of the film was reportedly the final soccer match between the Execon players and the Mighty Spears.

“The Mighty Spears were all professional actors with some soccer experience while the Execon Team were all professional soccer players, most with little or no acting experience,” Sundstrom said. “Both teams (including soccer stars Mark Fish and Phil Masinga) would need to do exercise warm-ups in the mornings and after lunch to ensure there were no injuries.”

After the challenges of the soccer match, Sundstrom joked that his next movie would be a darts game.

Also opening in the city this week

OPENING in time for the Easter holidays is DreamWorks Animation’s latest offering, Monsters vs Aliens, which can be seen at CineCentre, Ster Kinekor and NuMetro from today.

It tells the story of California girl Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) who, when she is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, mysteriously grows to 15 metres tall.

The military jumps into action and Susan is captured and put into a secret government compound where she is renamed Ginormica and held along with a ragtag group of monsters — the brilliant but insect-headed Dr Cockroach, PhD (Hugh Laurie); the macho half-ape, half-fish, the Missing Link (Will Arnett); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and the 106-metre grub called Insectosaurus.

Their confinement is cut short, however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and creates havoc. In a moment of desperation, The President (Stephen Colbert) is persuaded to enlist the motley crew of monsters to combat the alien robot and save the world from imminent destruction.

• At CineCentre you can see 12 Rounds, an action thriller starring larger-than-life wrestling star John Cena as New Orleans cop, Danny Fisher, who is struggling to save his kidnapped girlfriend from a revenge-seeking criminal. • Also opening this weekend is the horror thriller, Friday the 13th, which tells the story of a group of young adults who discover a boarded-ºup Camp Crystal Lake, where they encounter Jason Voorhees and his deadly intentions. See it at SterKinekor in Scottsville.

Still on Circuit

• CineCentre: Race to Witch Mountain, Gran Torino, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Marley & Me, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Pink Panther 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

• SterKinekor: Gran Torino, Friday the 13th, Watchmen, New in Town, Notorious, The Secret Life of Bees.

• NuMetro: The Secret Life of Bees, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Seven Pounds.

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