Review: Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It

Written and directed by Yernar Nurgaliyev, co-written by Zhandos Aibassov, Daniyar Soltanbayev, Il’yas Toleu, Anuar Turizhigitov and Alisher Utev. Dastan can no longer stand the constant nagging of his highly pregnant wife and decides to run away for at least one day with his friends. They go fishing, which would have gone smoothly, if not for a series of unforeseen events. Starring: Daniar Alshinov, Asel Kaliyeva, Azamat Marklenov, Yerlan Primbetov, Dulyga Akmolda, Almat Sakatov and Rustem Zhaniyamanov.

There are a few out of date things you have to push to one side before diving into this film. Yes, it’s hugely sexist to have a film based on the premise of a man trying to get away from his ‘nagging’ wife, this isn’t the 1990’s and she may talk a little too much but he also seems to have a serious anger management issue. The whole story which was remarkably written by not one but six different writers, feels like it was pulled directly out of 2010, in the heyday of The Hangover, Due Date and Wedding Crashers. Basically meaning that how you feel about that sort of lads off the leash style comedy, will definitely decide how you feel about this one. With the added bonus of a nice dose of violence a la Tucker & Dale vs Evil. It’s childish, silly and highly coincidental leading to chaos and carnage. Although it does strangely also find itself discussing psychology on more than one occasion which was an unexpected but not poorly chosen addition.

Overall, the tone keeps things playful, there’s an edge of darkness with the type of bloody violence at play but it never moves into the realm of tension, it keeps things forging ahead in a lighthearted manner. Despite the story feeling drawn from a decade ago, the directorial style does feel modern. The choice to include sporadic first person views, is something that filmmakers can rarely pull off and they don’t manage it here either but with that exception, it is solid work. There’s some nice matching action with angles, it keeps a fairly fast pace and it’s ready to up the ridiculous quota when needed. It also touches nicely on the back country arena of horror with its setting, you’re half hoping this story’s about to go full on Texas Chainsaw.

As you’d expect, the acting from the lead trio is exceptionally over the top, and as if they never left their teenage years. It’s on the nose, they’re all obnoxious characters so it’s not asking a tonne from its actors but they all bring what’s needed. The more interesting performances actually come from the second group of characters, who begin to hunt the first after a mistimed meeting, with one whose blissful ignorance of his abilities is bound for disaster. As well as another, who being in a crime family, is afraid of blood and violence, hitting fainting spells like a society lady in a 1920s drama.

Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is like a throwback to the height of male-comedy cinema, it’s a bit of outlandish fun filled with ridiculous coincidences. It sadly also follows the sexist pattern of films of the age, and hasn’t quite moved into the modern era on that front. Its use of violence is entertaining, its direction feels modern and it moves at a good pace. Ultimately, if you’re not a fan of highly male-centric comedy, it’s probably not for you; but if you’re looking for a bit of easy entertainment and you’re a fan of things getting messy, bloody and a tad ridiculous, then you’re likely to enjoy this one.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

On Digital & VOD February 8

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