Written by Patrick Hao
One of the shames of watching a movie like Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It and other festival movies at VOD screenings is the palpable audience reaction to a movie that unfurls itself to the audience. Directed and co-written by Yernar Nurgaliyev, Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is an ideal festival movie in that it is a perfectly fine and enjoyable break to the monotony of pretension that can often be found in festivals. The setup is typical enough: a bumbling man child Das (Daniar Alshinov) has a pregnant nagging wife (Asel Kaliyeva), he decides to go on a fishing trip with his two friends, Arman (Azamat Marklenov) and Murat (Erlan Primbetov) as one final hurrah before true adulthood. But, instead of a fun getaway with friends, they end up facing abhorrent violence. First, they witness a group of mobsters performing a hit and then find out a one-eyed serial killer on the loose.
This trite conceit of three men in suspended adolescence seems stuck in the mid-2000s era of Hollywood studio comedy. Even the examination of these men and their fears of growing up seems too much “been there, done that.” Even if there are moments of genuine sweetness between the three friends, the observations of masculinity juxtaposed with real world violence is too shallow to say anything. Even the genre blending seems trite.
Then again, Nurgaliyev is not too concerned about making any grand statements on masculinity. This movie is about Nurgaliyev showing off his genre bonafides. He exhibits skill in blending the horror comedy elements, with cartoonish visual gags like a Looney Tunes cartoon or a Stephen Chow movie. Some of the kills are gnarly, and the mixture of practical and special effects really adds the tactile grossness of it all. And like a good joke, the violence escalates appropriately and in opportune times.
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is the kind of silly, mindless fun that you want to see with a crowd of people. It may not stick in the mind long after watching it, but the joys are goofily visceral. Sometimes, that’s enough to get by.
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It Trailer
You can purchase a ticket to see Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It in Canada from Fantasia Film Festival and in the United States of America at New York Asian Film Festival.