FILM REVIEW | 'Looking for Love' hits right notes with Celeste Ntuli in charge
Nigerian-born director Adze Ugah's brutally honest, raunchy and female-driven romantic comedy, Looking for Love, has a winning recipe.
A disclaimer: if crude humour hits below the belt, then this is not the film for you.
The film succeeds where Ugah's last feature-length movie, Mrs Right Guy, failed. It's not pretentious. It's relevant and reflective of socio-economic issues facing South Africans.
As lewd as it gets at times, it's never tone-deaf. After it is done making you cry out of laughter, it will make you think about real issues.
The film is a coming-of-age tale about a woman. Buyi Dube (Celeste Ntuli) is an almost 40-year-old single woman going through a mid-life crises.
The dating pool is getting thinner and she's dealing with societal pressure to find love.
As her overbearing mother, played by the peerless and always sublime Lillian Dube, puts it in one pivotal scene: "Goofing around was fine at 20, even 30, but at 40 it's no longer funny."
This is Ntuli's movie and she shines from frame to frame. Ntuli strips off completely. She is vulnerable, genuine, funny and relatable all at once.
She breaks so many boundaries of what is considered "acceptable ladylike behaviour".
Renowned for her role as Nonny in soapie Muvhango, Phindile Gwala delivers a career-defining performance as Buyi's BFF, Phindi.
She manages to deliver a character that has unlikable traits yet so much humanity, which is not an easy task.
The sexual frankness in the film is a breath of fresh air. Buyi is not afraid to have casual sex. She is involved in a lot of hot sex scenes that will make you blush and laugh yourself into a coma.
The message delivered is: it's not men only that can spearhead raunchy comedies, women do talk smack too.
Looking for Love switches up the conversation on body positivity, female sexuality and cultural diversity.
Above all, I'm more than happy to report that the film ticks all the boxes - zero plot holes, intelligent dialogue, splendid camera work and dynamic editing.
Looking for Love opens in cinemas nationwide on Friday.