Kenneth (though he prefers to be referred to as ‘Kay’) is a comical, patois-speaking white guy who sucks his thumb during deep sleep, calls his seven year old sister ‘rude girl’, and asks his pet hamster, “What’s up, blood” when entering his room. He’s also a wannabe bad boy who leaves his job and vows to become a respected gangster and MC even if it puts him at odds with the neighborhood bully Tyrone (which of course it does, among others).
If a joke-filled, parody driven poke at the urban lifestyle done British style sounds like a bloody good time, then Anuvahood is the right comedy for you. For the rest of you, you can and should move on — quickly.
Me? Well, I’d move on too – infantile humor isn’t my thing. Infantile and gross actually sums it all up nicely. In one “pivotal” scene, Tyrone (Richie Campbell), engaged in suggested sexual intercourse, squirts tomato ketchup on the girl’s foot and licks at it rapidly like a dog. Personally, I don’t know how or why that would be construed as funny or arousing — it’s just nasty. I will guiltily say that some of the profanity garners a laugh, though. There is something about a British person swearing in their accent that makes them funny. Perhaps it’s how arbitrary they can be — like when (fictional) legendary comic book writer Adam Shadowchild swore at a couple at the Comic-Con convention in Paul. Whatever the reason, in Anuvahood, there is a genuinely hilarious swearing moment that involves Kay (Adam Deacon) and a Pakistani shopkeeper and Kay’s favorite candy Fruitella. The shame is many won’t get it since the shopkeeper is so hard to understand (if subtitles were added it would have made it even funnier).
It’s just the lame humor that is childlike though; the film’s content is relatively mature. The character Kay in the first scene and the near-ending of Anuvahood is reminiscent of Adam Deacon’s character Jay from Kidulthood and Adulthood. Those moments in the film turn off the comedic tone — unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to turn it back on — and they’re good enough to see that Deacon is better as a serious urban character than an absurd one. He’s also better at writing and directing more serious matter.
In many ways what he put together reminded me of a poor man’s Friday. Both flicks have a protagonist out of work. There’s a scene where Kay and his crew stare at a girl going past and are impressed by her looks just like Craig and Smokey were when a lady jogged past them. And Kay is in a similar drug situation as Craig too — even though none of Kay’s friends spout anything nearly as funny as when Smokey said to Craig “I know you don’t smoke weed. I know this; but I’m gonna get you high today, ’cause it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job . . . and you ain’t got shit to do.”
And even though Friday was Chris Tucker’s first real go at acting, he far surpasses everyone in Anuvahood — the acting in this film is absolutely atrocious. The over-exaggeration from the characters, especially from Kay’s friend T.J. (Jazzie Zonzolo) and the bully Tyrone, become incredibly annoying incredibly quickly. The shots are simply captured; this is straightforward, standard cinematography and nothing more. The basic camera skills with bad acting give the impression that this was homework for a drama lesson or other school project. (Assuming there were such a project that required everyone to just do precisely what they were told to do and absolutely nothing more).
Admittedly, I liked Deacon in his previous roles but his work here has made me think twice about whether he is actually good or not. It’s also made me wonder, “When will the British do their equivalent of the Razzie awards?” Everyone and everything related to Anuvahood is deserving of one.