Review of Dudes

Dudes (2001)
Cheaply made and basically forgettable.
19 January 2008
Yes, "Munje" is basically a piece of crap, but at least the scruffy-looking pseudo-hippy ultra-nationalist Fascist-Marxist (wtf!?) Maradona-hugging "poet" Kusturica had nothing to do with it. Pew...

This was the runaway hit in Serbia when it came out, breaking all sorts of records. The truth is, however, this: 1) Serbian audiences, while just as critical/picky as any nation when it comes to foreign productions, are VERY easy to please when offered the latest cheap locally-made crap. (Patriotism? Serbo-Croatian language bonus? Who knows...) 2) "Munje" came out after a long string of Serb movies that were political, heavy-handed and depressing. "Munje", on the other hand, gave the crowds something to relax to, being the kind of movie you can almost throw in the "Porky's" category. Hence the success of the movie, which came out at just the right time, should be taken with a grain of salt and not raise hopes too much.

Personally, I had no hopes as I prepared to watch it. Serbian cinema, like that of most small nations, is rather weak, especially the junk that's been released here in the last decade or so. "Munje" has no plot to speak of, but this is not a problem. The problem is that it's supposed to be a comedy yet simply isn't funny. It may be grin-worthy on several occasions, but the dialogue and some of the acting verges on the amateurish, a lot of both being very forced. Sergej Trifunovic, who is treated as a kind of Sean Penn or Edward Norton in Serbia, has very little charisma and absolutely no talent for comedy whatsoever. (I can already hear the screams of protest...) He is a little nepotistic preppie - a major reason why Serbian movies suck as much as they do. Whereas in Hollywood the occasional nobody can make it big now and then, in Serbia absolutely no-one can break into movies unless they have very fat (family) connections. (And no: I am not a struggling, bitter actor.) Trifunovic seems to force the role to suit him, and ends up being fake. Plus, he's too old for the role. Even worse is Maja Mandzuka: a cute girl, but with the acting ability of a goat lost at pasture (yes, another nepotist). Her monotone voice will put you to sleep quicker than the mostly lame gags. You wouldn't be blamed if you thought she was reading her lines straight off an auto-cue.

Boris Milivojevic is dull, ditto Zoran Cvijanovic, Djuricko has charisma but his role is crap, so that leaves us only with Glogovac as the only actor here who seems to know what he's doing. (Alas, he has a small role.) The stunningly beautiful Danijela Vranjes appears far too briefly to be able to redeem this turkey.

The much-praised soundtrack is forgettable, with the exception of Vroom, who briefly provide some much-needed energy.
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