Undoubtedly, Leon Schuster is South Africa’s king of the candid camera type movie and it will be many a year before his plethora of movie laughs at the expense of unsuspecting suckers will ever be passed, but that’s not to say that no one is ever going to try and dethrone the king. Enter Rainbow Skellums, the brainchild of long-time Schuster co-producer Andre Scholtz, who has re-entered the candid camera market with a trio of fresh faces at the helm.
Funny man Louw Venter of Corne and Twakkie: The Most Amazing Show fame leads the cast as skellum number 1 and he is ably backed up by Kevin Ehrenreich as skellum number 2 and Alexa Strachan as skellum number 3.
After a brief (and slightly nonsensical intro) the movie jumps straight into the candid camera skits and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy. Now honestly, production value is not all that high and there isn’t much worth mentioning about Rainbow Skellums apart from the joke setups themselves, and unfortunately on that front, I have to admit to having been a little bit disappointed with the majority of them.
What makes Candid Camera funny and what has always made this format funny are the reactions gained from the unsuspecting victims and apart from a couple of pearls from the victims themselves (like the security guard who brings up his hands in the shape of a gun after a loud noise surprises him), the jokes were all either a little too overcooked or perhaps missing one slight variable which could have made it all that more funny.
Now I don’t want to give away too many of the pranks because they do kind of make up the entire movie product, but as an example I’ll take one or two of the setups and explain just exactly what I mean. The flat tire setup is well thought out. Hang outside a gym, let down a fancy car’s tyres, have two beautiful women approaching men for help and then feature one bolt on the wheel that actually doesn’t turn using the provided wheel spanner. A great idea and the ladies more than do their part in egging on their helpless victims, but for some strange reason they set this up by making the spanner spin helplessly over the incorrect bolt. So the guy just sits their spinning the spanner around and around before giving up.
A missed opportunity to say the least! You’re at a gym. What you want to do is make a man mad because he doesn’t have the strength to do the necessary task. Rather fix the bolt in place that the spanner does fit but that is almost impossible for a man to turn using only his strength. This would have gotten the guys far hotter under the collars as they strained away and with the constant egging on of the women would have made for some explosively funny reactions instead of the rather tame ones they did collect in the end.
Similarly, the old live person in the coffin trick would have gotten a far better reaction had they rather had the “body” sit up in the casket and thus invoke a frightful reaction from the victims rather than their quite tame talking from the grave scenario which they dreamt up. Another missed opportunity to maximise the crowd reaction in my opinion.
In fact, the only place that I do feel like they got it absolutely right was the last throwaway gag which they added right at the end of the film, which ended up being the funniest of the lot without a shadow of a doubt – and all it was, was the classic head hiding in a pot gag! Brilliantly funny thanks to the reactions garnered on that one!
Anyway, none of the gags are actually bad and I guess it is up to the audience as to what they find funny, but for my part I can’t help but think that some of their ideas just needed that final little tweak in order to make it even better!
Now on an aside, the one reason Chantelle and I did enjoy the movie so was the fact that large swathes of it was actually shot here in the Helderberg reason, our very own backyard and thus we cried out in pleasure when we recognised shop fronts and restaurants from Strand and even closer here in Gordon’s Bay – hell they even caught out Charles the owner of Talla’s Tavern, who just happens to technically be family of the Montgomery clan! (Hee hee, not even Gordon’s Bay’s spanking new Scooters pizza delivery men were immune from the skellums’ tricks!)
So the final conclusion? Rainbow Skellums delivers exactly what it promises in that it is straight and through a candid camera movie. There are some great ideas and some good laughs to be had, but unless you enjoy the format you really, really don’t need to bother.
Unless of course you think that having to stand on a scale in order to work out how much you need to pay in taxi fare is seriously funny stuff. ;)
Related Link: http://www.rainbowskellums.co.za/