1980, Ster Kinekor Films/C.A.T. Films/Mimosa Films
Stanford C. Allen
Sandra Prinsloo (Kate Thompson)
Marius Weyers (Andrew Steyn)
Michael Thys (M’Pudi)
Louw Verney (Sam Boga)
Nic de Jager (Jack Hind)
Ken Gampu (President)
This South African comedy from Jamie Uys broke out when it was released in the United States four years after its initial release and is quite a funny film with interconnecting stories.
In a small village full of San Bushmen, a mysterious occurrence has arisen. When an airplane drops a Coca-Cola bottle and the bottle lands in the village unbroken, the villagers find themselves convinced that it is a gift from the gods. They use the bottle for many uses but soon realize there is only one bottle. A meeting results in respected bushman Xi to make the pilgrimage to return the bottle to the gods by disposing of it.
Xi’s adventure lands him to meet various people. They include newly hired school teacher Kate Thompson, zoologist Andrew Steyn, safari guide Jack Hind, and a band of guerillas led by Sam Boga. When a hungry Xi shoots a goat, he is imprisoned but finds himself saved by Andrew and his assistant M’Pudi, who is the only one who can understand Xi. Soon enough, Andrew and Kate meet when Andrew’s research lands him on the trail where the guerillas have arrived to take the school hostage in an attempt to have the government leave them alone. Chaos ensues and Xi must find a way to complete his pilgrimage to return the bottle to the gods.
The late South African director Jamie Uys has crafted a funny screwball comedy that meshes a group of small stories that all connect into a chaotic adventure for everyone involved. The film’s central story is the pilgrimage of a San bushman finding a Coca Cola bottle and considers it a gift from the gods as the San are known to live in a more primitive setting. The film would make a star of a real-life bushman named N!xau, who would go onto return not only to star in Uys’ 1989 sequel but a series of knockoffs in Hong Kong in the 90’s before his death in 2003.
The film’s remaining characters have some funny chemistry together, especially Marius Weyers’ bumbling zoologist and Sandra Prinsloo’s school teacher. Some of the screwball antics are hilarious, including Xi and friends experiencing a lion and things almost don’t go as planned, and an attempt for Xi to drive for the first time doesn’t go as planned as well. Even the guerillas are not exactly smart in their antics at times, making this a more hysterical comedy.
The Gods Must Be Crazy is a hilarious screwball comedy of errors that will just make you want more. If you are in the mood for a fun screwball comedy that has absolutely zero raunchiness like many of today’s films, then this is a must-see.
WFG RATING: A