Warmly received at the Hollywood MiniDV Film Festival (where I saw it), Hey Boy is something of a coming-of-age film for 20-somethings. Berry and Janks are two childhood buddies who have everything in their favor. They're attractive, intelligent and well schooled. The problem is that they are sorely lacking in the emotion department. Brendan Pollecutt as Berry is charming and funny. A serial womanizer and commitment-phobe, he inevitably finds something wrong with his girlfriend and moves on. He's reminiscent of Seinfeld in this respect, except Seinfeld didn't sleep with every date. Berry is also the fat kid in a candy store; he's halfway through one flavor, when his eyes have fallen on another that he just HAS to try.
Janks, on the other hand, is entirely more responsible. Where Berry is jobless and immature, Janks (played by the bookish Justin Cohen) is focused and hard-working. He also hasn't given up on romance. Unfortunately, he's completely hung-up over his ex, which leads to a curiously incongruous "venting" that recurs throughout the film. Ironically, Janks' day job involves lecturing college students on sexual liberation; the very topic he himself is unable to embrace. To make matters worse, the guys share an apartment, which only magnifies their contrasting personalities. It's a tenuous relationship as it is, so when they both fall for Cindi, played by the striking Lorcia Cooper, it's time to face up to each other and themselves.
For all their shortcomings, both leads are engaging. Pollecutt is so thoroughly charming that he wins you over in spite of his behavior. While the film doesn't take itself too seriously, there are poignant moments. And while you may not recognize yourself in these guys, you'll certainly recognize people you know. Strong performances, including some hilarious cameos, slick editing and a catchy soundtrack, make Hey Boy well worth your while. It's also refreshing to see a South African film that doesn't get bogged down by politics. An 8/10.
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