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Ernest Goes to Africa (1997)

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The title says it all. There's a mix up involving stolen diamonds which Ernest has (naturally) made into a yo-yo and given to his would be girlfriend, Rene. But Rene wants a man of action, ... See full summary »


(as John Cherry)
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Title: Ernest Goes to Africa (1997)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernest P. Worrel / Hey You, the Hindu / Auntie Nelda / African Woman dancer
Jamie Bartlett ...
Claire Marshall ...
Betty, Rene's serving mate
Washington Xisolo ...
Robert Whitehead ...
Zane Meas ...
Charles Pillai ...
Sello Sebotsane ...
Frank Opperman ...
Thug #1
Frank Pereira ...
Thug #2
Ian Yule ...
David Germond ...


The title says it all. There's a mix up involving stolen diamonds which Ernest has (naturally) made into a yo-yo and given to his would be girlfriend, Rene. But Rene wants a man of action, and doesn't think that Ernest fits the bill. After the bad guys come looking for the stolen diamonds and kidnap Rene, all of her fantasies come true as Ernest has to go to Africa to rescue her. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


And Africa Will Never Be The Same!


Family | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language, some mild violence and brief sexual innuendo | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

September 1997 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Afrikassa  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


At one point, Earnest mentions a (fictional) movie called "Illinois Smith and the Curse of Hitler's Brain". The Indiana Jones reference is obvious, but there was actually a movie called They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968). See more »


Follows Ernest Goes to School (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty Bad, But Surprisingly Memorable
22 November 2003 | by (US) – See all my reviews

I saw this film when it came out in '97. I was in third grade at the time and was attracted to a new Ernest adventure. Even at age nine, I found it an unfunny, complete waste of time. I wasn't a hard kid to please- nine year olds usually aren't, but it was a bad sign when lovable and hilarious Jim Varney as Ernest P. Whorrol couldn't get much of a reaction of me.

Last Thanksgiving, I was looking through the TV guide and found that "Ernest Goes to Africa" was on USA at two in the morning. It was a lonely, secluded slot and I decided to give it some company. Then fifteen, I just wanted a smile and an hour and half of entertainment. My judgement hadn't changed in five years and I constantly flipped channels, but for whatever reason this one had me coming back.

You see, there is some kind of odd magic about this film that drew me in for some reason. Maybe it's Varney's presence...maybe its the wonder of generic, late night USA, but whatever it is, I would actually recommend watching "Ernest Goes to Africa".

The story is predictably trite. Owing oh so much to `Raiders of the Lost Ark' the plot involves the theft of priceless jewels, the Eyes of Agolie, being stolen from a worshipping tribe by ruthless archaeologist Mr. Thompson. They inadvertently end up at a flea market where Ernest finds them and makes a yo-yo out of them. (Quick criticism, these jewels look completely like plastic…it seems like director John Cherry III didn't even try). With Ernest's beloved Rene, a waitress who is `sick of hometown ordinary ‘shmoes', he is kidnapped out of suspicion and ends up fleeing Thompson and his goons in a series of scenes that become more and more unwatchable in a downward spiral.

There are some honestly terrible scenes that will no doubt repel you. It starts off on the wrong foot with a desperate opener where Varney tries and tries with his large amount of comedic skill to bring out laughs with his reactions to different African artifacts, but the scene fatally doesn't work. Jim is brilliant at Ernest, but in this unrelated beginning he feels like some goofy friend trying to bring out a laugh when your in a mood incapable of letting you smile.

The film has even more to complain about. It is shot on a pretty cheap-looking video that may turn you off right off the bat. It seems every actor present besides Varney is either a bad one, or just an irritating one- especially Linda Kash as Rene. The traditional Ernest gags like the cranky granny have finally become tried thanks to Cherry's dull direction this time. He has a noticeable boundary between live-action cartoon and adventure film, and it is painful when frequently crossed. This is by any definition an uneven film due to this boundary.

OK enough smushing this film; that is too easy of a task. Liking it is a hard one, but I challenge you to attempt it. This film has a great asset: how much fun it is to hate it. If you don't feel the compelling magic I felt to watch it, then I recommend it for this pleasurable bashing, even if you are not a cynic.

The bottom line here, `Ernest Goes to Africa' starts of catastrophic, flattens even more in the middle and has an unpredictably unsatisfying ending, but if this comedic adventure isn't somehow an escape from boring old life, then I don't know what is. I recommend renting this bad film, staying up late, and letting it take you out of your head for an hour and a half.

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