Home Reviews Second Opinion: MAD BUDDIES – Juvenile and painfully unfunny toilet humour in every sense of the term

Second Opinion: MAD BUDDIES – Juvenile and painfully unfunny toilet humour in every sense of the term

6 min read

Gavin has already given his review of Leon Schuster’s latest effort, Mad Buddies, and was generally pretty positive about the whole affair. Which I have to admit left me completely puzzled as I clearly remember the 2 minutes I had spent watching the trailer a few weeks earlier, being about as funny as Lymphoma and every bit as traumatizing.

So off I went to discover if this was just a case of an unfortunately bad trailer and had Gavin actually found a pot comedy gold at the end of this rainbow nation production, or was it actually just a crock of something else entirely.

Let me start off with a bit of a disclaimer: I think Leon Schuster is a funny guy. “Maak soos ‘n blou lig” will always be one of the funniest lines ever immortalized on screen. But a good comedian is not necessarily a good filmmaker, something that has become increasingly obvious with each film Schuster has made after deciding to drop the candid camera act that brought him his initial fame.

And now we get to Mad Buddies, which sees Schuster and Kenneth Nkosi as Boetie and Beast (a droll nod to Disney, Schuster’s new paymasters), a white ex-game ranger and black ex-cop respectively, who after a case of mistaken identity manage to not only ruin each other’s careers, but in the very unexpectedly gruesome case of Boetie, have his toe shot off. After a second disastrous chance encounter between the two is captured by the international media as a breakdown of the rainbow nation and sees them facing possible jail time, they get given the option of reconciling their perceived racial differences while embarking on a 600km walk from KZN to Gauteng. But unbeknownst to them, cunning reality TV host Kelsey (Tanit Phoenix) plans to secretly film the whole affair as TV show, much to South Africa’s viewing pleasure.

Now while that certainly doesn’t sound like the worst premise for a film, the problem here is that this is only a “film” in the loosest sense of the word. Plot? Character? Acting? Leon Schuster and his writer/director partner Gray Hofmeyr treats these like cheap 1-ply toilet paper.

What follows is just 90 minutes of scene after scene of people badly pantomiming getting hit in the head and/or genitals by either each other or the local wildlife, with orifice excretions of every colour and texture thrown into the steaming, stinking mess, just for good measure. While some bad films just use their script as vehicle for toilet humour, Mad Buddies takes it a step further by having a character actually go to the toilet in a vehicle.

The one time that Schuster and co decides to reign in their juvenile excesses though, as Boetie stops to ask a Lesotho highlander for directions, it actually left me in stitches. Ditching all the bodily cliches in favour of just deadpan delivery and a zinger of a one-liner, it’s easily the highlight of the movie and shows you just what this could have been before it was decided that “poop = funny”.

As the two leading men, Schuster and Nkosi seem to at least have some chemistry going between them. Unfortunately that’s all flushed away as they both show off the type of acting normally reserved for mid-week primary school plays. But this is a Leon Schuster movie after all, so to be fair I really wasn’t expecting much more.

The same goes for Tanit Phoenix, who I’ve only really seen in mediocre straight-to-DVD sequels. The admittedly gorgeous model turned actress is starting to gain a bit of recognition for herself over in America and while she often has the term “up and coming” slapped in front of her name, I think that’s probably a more apt description of her male fans than her actual talent, as she plays her femme fatale role here with about as much panache as you would normally find on E-tv after midnight on Fridays.

But I need to take a moment here to discuss regular Schuster sidekick Alfred Ntombela and his role in this movie. Despite what the credits may tell you, his minister of tourism Mda is not a character. He’s a walking Youtube Fail compilation video, with an added fart track, who spends literally – LITERALLY – every single scene he is in inflicting the clumsiest violence upon himself for absolutely no reason whatsoever. And while I generally try to keep my reviews spoiler free (as if this movie had a plot to spoil anyway), I need to give you an example of this so that you can feel my pain:

After once again witnessing Boetie and Beast’s continuous refusal to work together on TV, Mda calls up Kelsey to complain about it and asks her to “pull the plug” on the show. He then reaches down to grab the electrical extension cord which his TV is plugged into, and yanks it – only God and Leon Schuster know why –  hard enough for the plug to dislodge and hit him in the face.

Aaaaand that’s the scene. There is no real punchline, and even less of a point. What’s worse is that a beat for beat copy of this scene plays out approximately every 15 minutes, with just the method of Mda’s injury changing – from walking into a door, to a statue dropped on his foot, to a ladder knocked against his head, etc.

Each and every time one of these scenes happened, as another piece of my soul  shriveled away and died, I looked down about 2 rows in front of me to see a middle-aged lady raucously laughing to the point of tears. And with every single one of her whoops, my faith in humanity dwindled.

You see it’s already been confirmed that Mad Buddies has had the most successful opening weekend of any of Schuster’s movies. In fact, had it not been for The Avengers, it would currently be sitting right on top as the biggest South African Box Office opening of all time. And with Disney now backing and pushing this movie internationally, this will be the new face of South African film that the world will get to see. Think about that for a second.

Where we used to be able to proudly represent ourselves globally as a rainbow nation, Leon Schuster has just turned us into a nation of nothing but brown. K@k brown, that is.


Last Updated: June 28, 2012


  1. Sonny Bonds

    June 28, 2012 at 11:13

    Just the pictures posted in this review irritates the living p1$$ out of me.


  2. Oldvideogamer

    June 28, 2012 at 11:16

    The GODs must be crazy is still the best timeless classic. Everything after should have stayed in the 70s.


  3. matthurstrsa

    June 28, 2012 at 11:22

  4. Gavin Mannion

    June 28, 2012 at 11:28

    I honestly have no idea why you felt the need to go and watch and review this when there was never any doubt you would hate it?

    It’s like me taking it upon myself to go watch the latest cinema nouveau showing and then posting a review lambasting it for it’s pointless mental masturbation.

    Mad Buddies isn’t an attempt at highbrow humour or quality story telling, it’s an incredibly successful attempt at creating yet another Leon Schuster movie. One which the couple in front would happily tell you was exactly what they wanted to see.


    • Wtf101

      June 28, 2012 at 11:52

      Gavin, I think, no believe that you have hit the nail on the head in your first sentence. 

      No offence meant to you, Kervyn but I do not believe that you are the right reviewer for this type of a movie.

      And I seriously have to ask Kervyn, why you always have to take a stab at something you do not like?  Is that middle aged lady that enjoyed the movie really a lesser human being because of it?  Sorry, but it sounds a bit like you think you are above and beyond all mere mortal beings for enjoying such low brow entertainment as Leon Schuster and Michael Bay movies.


      • Kervyn Cloete

        June 28, 2012 at 13:46

        Do I think that I’m better than other mortal beings? Hell, no. I’m about as down to earth as you can get. But I obviously struggled to understand how that particular lady was finding certain scenes as funny as she did. It’s the same way you struggled to understand how I could have found fault with Prometheus. To you my negativity about that movie makes no sense, and that’s how I felt in the cinema on Tuesday.


        • Gavin Mannion

          June 28, 2012 at 14:07

          I generally don’t understand how people can laugh out loud during movies at the cinema… but that’s because I think I’m better than other mortals and immortals and can’t believe they didn’t see it coming

          half of that is true


          • Kervyn Cloete

            June 28, 2012 at 14:38

            Unfortunately, this applies to me as well. It’s the unexpected jokes that has me rolling in the aisles. Same applies to so called “scary” movies. Directors all have little things they do to setup frights, shot framing, music choice etc, and once you realize what they are, it becomes very hard to be shocked ever again.

        • Parker

          June 28, 2012 at 17:14

           But wtf101 is right, there was absolutely no point for you to review this movie. That lady sitting in front? That’s who the movie was made for.
          I’m sorry, but Gavin’s review is a much more accurate representation of the quality of the movie. Leon Schuster fans make up a large part of the South African community, seeing as they grew up with his movies. And to that extent, it’s a decent Schuster movie.


    • Justin Hess

      June 28, 2012 at 11:57

      All true, but the thing that is most grating about Leon Schuster may not necessarily be Schuster’s films themselves (though I can’t bring myself to watch them. I think they’re kak) but rather the fact that our comedy, and by extension, national sense of wit and humour, seems so limited and retarded.

      Where are the films like When Harry Met Sally, or Top Secret, comedy that isn’t solely reliant on puerile humour. 

      If anything, Schuster might be successful, but his dependence on one singular form of comedy shows him for what an utterly lazy filmmaker he is.

      Which is loathsome and worth hating him for


      • Wtf101

        June 28, 2012 at 12:03

        Lazy or clever film maker?  Look, the guy knows what his audience wants, and he delivers that to them by the shitload.


        • Justin Hess

          June 28, 2012 at 12:13

          More lazy than clever I’d say. Not writing comedy that is entirely scatological or physical doesn’t mean that is has to be thought provoking stuff.

          I’m sure his audience can appreciate a When Harry Met Sally kind of comedy.

          But maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe he’s not lazy or someone who refuses to move outside his comfort zone. Maybe he’s just creatively very limited and what we’ve seen of Schuster is the bulk of what he can do


          • Wtf101

            June 28, 2012 at 12:22

            I am sure they can appreciate a When Harry Met Sally kind of comedy.  But do people always want to see that type of movie?  The answer is no.  Sometimes people want to see a silly thing such as a Schuster movie, where the comedy is more physical than razor sharp wit or clever one liners.

      • Gavin Mannion

        June 28, 2012 at 12:10

        I have to agree with wtf101 here and when I get my interview transcribed I could just link to it.

        Schuster doesn’t make these films simply because he loves them, he makes them because a large audience loves them and his job is to entertain.

        Schuster films are also not the only comedy or art we have to show for our country, we have an incredibly broad range of stand up comics and there have been a few different comedy movies made (most of them sucked).

        The problem is a movie like this cost around R25 million to make, how many local companies would fund that for an unproven star or formula? 


        • Justin Hess

          June 28, 2012 at 12:20

          Based on his Box Office pull, it’s entirely possible that he would still get funding if he presented a script that was better written, with better characters and a better story.

          He has a good reputation for profitable films so there’s no reason investors would shy from him should he come up with a concept that’s outside of his usual oeuvre.

          Like I said, it might not be laziness on Schuster’s part but rather a limited amount of talent  


          • Gavin Mannion

            June 28, 2012 at 12:25

            Yes he may be able to get the funding but why should he? He’s got a huge fanbase who don’t want anything different and it would be idealogical suicide for him to now try his hand at something else so what’s the point?

            So that he can walk around with the Ronge’s and Cloete’s of the industry and be respected by them while the masses who made him who he is dislike him? It doesn’t make sense. 

            What I was inferring is that new film makers will struggle to get funding for a comedic venture that isn’t slapstick in SA.

          • Justin Hess

            June 28, 2012 at 12:37

            No, you’re quite right. If it aint broke, don’t fix it, basically.

            It’s just frustrating that we seem to find lowest common denominator humour so easy to accomplish
            but humour outside of that seems to be really challenging.

            Which is, of course, no fault of Schuster’s but just a general failing of our Film Industry

          • Noelle Adams

            June 28, 2012 at 12:49

            White Wedding was supposed to be a pretty good (and profitable) local comedy that didn’t rely on slapstick, so it can be done.

            For the record, I don’t think the premise for Mad Buddies is a bad one. With some smarter writing they could have made a witty, brain-functional road-trip comedy that touches on local issues while still retaining some of the gross-out humour. Think Bridesmaids and The Hangover.

          • Kervyn Cloete

            June 28, 2012 at 13:36

            And Noelle hit the nail on the head for me. There is potential there for a really great buddy comedy. And like I have said before, I believe Schuster has the funny-man chops to have made it work. (That Lesotho scene is evidence of this) And that’s what disappointed me the most.

      • Noelle Adams

        June 28, 2012 at 12:43

        I think the fact that our country’s leaders cannot grasp satire and parody (my favourite form of humour) is a good indication of how sadly toilet-bound our nation’s sense of humour is:P 


        • Justin Hess

          June 28, 2012 at 12:56

          True, but I’m not even talking about high minded satire or parody, though that would be welcome too.

          I keep mentioning When Harry Met Sally but only because it’s an example of comedy that is very well written and executed that doesn’t need an audience with thinking caps on.

          Hell, somethin like Road Trip even, which still has a pretty low brow sense of humour but doesn’t rely entirely on one kind of humour.

          Or the Apatow stuff, like Knocked Up or The 40 yr Old Virgin. Again, stuff that’s very cleverly done, doesn’t need smarts to be appreciated and doesn’t rely on one-note humour.

          What it reveals is a lack of good writers on the part of our industry.

          Schuster should be proof that there money to fund these films. And there’s no denying that we have the technical capability.

          But when it comes to writing, handling story, performance and character, we are sadly lacking


    • Kervyn Cloete

      June 28, 2012 at 12:05

      Understandable, but I watched it for 3 reasons. Firstly, I watch a helluva lot of movies. Even movies that don’t initially appeal to me. Hell there were we rom-coms that I ended seeing with the missus that I inded up liking.
      I mean, I’m not a Michael Bay fan at all, but one of the first things I ever reviewed here was Transformers 3, despite me hating Transformers 2. And if you read that review, you’ll see that there were things about 3 that I actually liked. So no, I;m not going to dismiss a movie completely out of hand (Hell I’ll even watch Piranha 3DD), as I am willing to give pretty much anything a fair chance.

      Secondly, and tying into point 1, it was actually your review that convinced me to maybe give it a try. There were some things you mentioned that had me thinking that yes there would be some facepalm moments, but there were at least a couple hints of that vintage Schuster humour maybe returning. Alas, not only was there none of that, but I found it worse than I expected to.

      And thirdly, this is a film that’s going to divide people. Just like we did with Prometheus, where I gave my more fanboy skewed review and Noelle gave hers, I figure there’s nothing wrong with getting multiple impressions with this. There are people who share your tastes in movies, and people who share mine, and each of those groups deserve to be represented.


      • Gavin Mannion

        June 28, 2012 at 12:14

        But I did represent the other side in my review.. I said if you are not a Schuster fan stop and leave.. I couldn’t be any clearer.

        The only thing I agreed with you on was the moment in Lesotho with the road.. best one liner I’ve heard in any movie, anywhere, for a very long time.

        But the fact that you didn’t think the car part was funny saddens me.. that is pure Schuster gold right there


        • Kervyn Cloete

          June 28, 2012 at 13:33

          Conversely, I couldn’t understand how you found the ladder scene that hilarious. But that’s why it’s different strokes for different folks I guess. 😀


          • Gavin Mannion

            June 28, 2012 at 13:54

            Maybe I was a little generous about the ladder scene… it was his best part in the movie though.. just not the best part

      • Kervyn Cloete

        June 28, 2012 at 13:44

        Oh and the thing about your “Non-Schuster fans beware” warning, is that I have found quite a bit of his stuff hilarious (as you’ll see later today). To me this was just some of his worst work though.


    • TireloMabetoa

      July 5, 2012 at 09:38

      Mad buddies isn’t an attempt at humour, period.


  5. Justin Hess

    June 28, 2012 at 11:37

    Toilet, poop, flush – You’ve got a real lavatory theme running there in that review.

    Still, the last Schuster move I watched was There’s A Zulu On My Stoep. That was in 1993, which leaves an unbroken record of 20 years not watching a Leon Schuster film

    Not about to break it with this one


  6. Christo Kruger

    June 28, 2012 at 11:43

    I like this review better. Can’t it be the first opinion?


  7. Kervyn Cloete

    June 28, 2012 at 14:01

    Oh as for the “wrong reviewer for this type of movie” comment, that’s kind of the whole point of the Second Opinion features. It’s to get the impressions of somebody who doesn’t have the same initial viewpoint.

    And I know that WTF101 is going to love me for using this as an example 🙂 but lets say that there’s a reviewer who just worships everything Twilight. No matter how much evidence others present him/her about the movies’ shortcomings, they still insist in giving it perfect 5 star ratings each and every time.

    And then another reviewer comes along, continuously expressing his/her complete disdain for the Twilight series. But after watching the final film, they give a second opinion in which they also score it 5 stars and then go on to say that even they were impressed with how amazing it was.

    Now if you don’t care one bit for Twilight either way, which one of those two reviews are you more likely to trust?

    If I had walked out of that cinema being impressed at what Schuster had done, I would have come on here and said so. I would have said that I was wrong to doubt him. And while I certainly didn’t expect the film to blow me away, I was honestly just hoping for some middle of the road comedy. I didn’t get that, and so I told you about it. As film reviewer, it’s my job to tell you what I thought of a movie.


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