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Movie Review: Hollywood in my Huis


Hollywood in my Huis is a South African romantic comedy about a wallflower, living in an impoverished railway neighbourhood, who tries to devise the perfect matric prom. It's part She's All That, part Bakgat!and part Juno with a strong Cinderella undercurrent.

The She's All That element is from our central character's aspiration to look like Charlize Theron at the 2004 Oscars. She's trying to sew an Oscar-worthy dress together in an attempt to dazzle her peers, going from wallflower to Prom Queen. It isn't as simple as letting her hair down and taking off her glasses (she doesn't wear any), but the transition has a humourous before-and-after appeal.

The Bakgat! high school tone comes through in the mischievous interplay between jocks and nerds in a classic Revenge of the Nerds challenge as boys and girls mingle in corridors. The love triangle romance creates tension and the pranks, humiliation and retribution keep the film light-hearted and upbeat.

Hollywood in my Huis

"Show me your paso doble."

They say it takes a community to raise a baby and while the only baby in Hollywood in my Huis is the song "baby chocolates", the comedy has a Juno small town sass about it. Christia Visser is a charming young actress who beams with unassuming confidence as Jana. Much like Ally McBeal, our lead's amusing daydreams play out as she aspires to recreate the winning Charlize Theron look.

She stars opposite best friend Frikkie, played by Edwin van der Walt, like a young Sam Rockwell. The co-leads have got believable "it's complicated" chemistry and feature with solid performances once again, after equally captivating turns in Ballade vir 'n Enkeling. The cast is made up of many supporting acting talents, including: Nicola Hanekom, Louw Venter, Leandie du Randt and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp.

Hanekom plays home stylist turned mother, Beatrice, a role you'd imagine Naomi Watts taking on nowadays. She feels under-appreciated and on the cusp of divorcing her family with what seems like a life of regrets. There's a melancholy to the performance and she shares some great moments opposite Louw Venter as her daydreaming, simpleton of a husband.

Venter delivers another diamond in the rough, tapping into a The Big Lebowski state of mind with an unpredictable performance that ironically grows on you along with the character's new pursuit. Leandie du Randt is right at home as the typically detestable Miss Popular with a Mean Girls entourage and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp delivers a heartfelt Fairy Godmother role.

Director Corne van Rooyen has brought this colourful, quirky and entertaining small town romantic comedy to life. We're entertained, from Jana sewing her own dress, to conspiring to land the high school hunk as her date to out-manovereing family and friends in her prom obsession.

Hollywood in my Huis works as a fun, lightweight feel good "promcom" and has a range of eccentric supporting characters to keep us amused. It's not totally original, but composes the various elements in such a way to deliver something fresh and enjoyable.

The bottom line: Infectious