With urban youth culture proving to be an increasingly popular theme of exploration throughout the narrative of todays British film and entertainment media, it’s inevitable that a tongue-in-cheek, more comedic approach would eventually seem a worthwhile endeavour for potential film distributors. Television’s already seen recent farcical attempts with such shows as, the moderately successful, Phone Shop on Channel 4, and BBC’s utterly deplorable Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show.
I guess a logical silver screen progression would be to follow the route of the parody film. What, with such a long list of titles to draw inspirations from, like Kidulthood or, err, Adulthood, or… Shan… no, never mind.
So, you may be asking, who’s taken on the task of envisioning such a project? It’s Adam Deacon, the guy from Kidulthood, and Adulthood, and err, Shank. The creatively named Anuvahood, is Deacon’s first outing as writer, director, and leading star of a major motion picture, which is by far the biggest venture of his career so far. The plot centres on Kenneth (Deacon), a useless emcee and general failure, who quits his menial day job, and embarks on a weed dealing adventure. During his ill-managed and unsubtle attempts to shift product, he manages to bumps heads with local criminal Tyrone (Richie Campbell), who initially robs him and… shit, this is all starting to sound a lot like Friday!
As the narrative develops, the similarities between Anuvahood and the Ice Cube comedy classic continue, travelling beyond mere homage, and bordering on the edge of being a straight rip-off. Elsewhere, other scenarios play out as comedic retellings of scenes from the Noel Clarke series (infiltrating enemy territory to reclaim stolen possessions stands out most), but again it all feels less parodied, and more often pirated. These comparisons don’t exactly go away, considering Deacon is joined by his fellow Kidulthood cast members Femi Oyeniran as a co-star, not to mention a brief and pointless cameo from Jaime Winstone. Other bit parts go to Richard Blackwood, the golem-faced Linda Robson, Grime emcees Lethal Bizzle and Giggs, plus many more not worth mentioning.
The main problem with the film is the comedy element. At times it seems unsure if it’s a spoof, a farce, or a low-brow satire. It’s filled with one liners, and although one or two prove good for a brief snigger, it’s all themed around stereotypes, culture-clash, and the fact no-one is as tough as they think they are, which becomes repetitive early on in the narrative. The finished product is as if Friday and Kidulhood knocked boots, and the baby came out all Ali G Inda House (another film Deacon has appeared in). The performance and delivery of each character is largely pulled off well, if a little pantomime at times, and to be fair cinematically it’s a technically sound production, but overall Anuvahood is still a turd dipped in glitter, at best.
By: Calvin Hussey
Release Date: 4th July 2011
Format: DVD / Bluray