Another Netflix comedy, “I’m Not an Easy Man,” which debuted in April, can also be the work of a feminine director, Eléonore Pourriat, who wrote the movie as effectively. Alas, it, too, shouldn’t be excellent.
The premise is straightforward: Extreme male chauvinist bumps his head on a Paris road signal, passes out and wakes up in a gender-reversed world. The road signal was for Père Lachaise Cemetery; when he wakes up, it’s for Mère Lachaise. John Steinbeck is Jane Steinbeck. Women don’t put on make-up and are sexual aggressors, whereas males are required to shave their chests and interior thighs. And so on and so forth.
One may fill a 98-minute film with such trivia, however why would you wish to? This image is a heavy-handed pursuit of diminishing returns, on condition that the male lead, Vincent Elbaz, is equally unappealing as a creepy alpha male and a befuddled consultant of oppressed manhood. As it occurs, this film is an enlargement of Ms. Pourriat’s 2010 quick movie, “Oppressed Majority,” which was a punchier, and never significantly comedic, allegory of sexual assault. That image could be discovered on YouTube; I don’t assume it’s good both, but it surely’s extra genuinely thought-provoking than its enlargement.
An tutorial having an early midlife disaster who neglects his spouse, flirts with a pupil and stresses over a extra profitable colleague seems like a situation out of, for those who’ll forgive me, a Woody Allen movie. In this case, it’s the premise of a South African Netflix comedy, “Catching Feelings,” written and directed by and starring Kagiso Lediga, a preferred slapstick comedian and tv performer in his nation. It is notable each for its appreciable comedic aptitude and its detailed depiction of Johannesburg.
Mr. Lediga’s character, Max, is a inventive writing instructor whom we first see performing a daringly lewd lecture on the cuckold-growing-horns fantasy. He’s financially overextended, drinks an excessive amount of and shortly falls below twin spells — one woven by a feminine pupil, the opposite by a well-known white author who has returned to South Africa after a protracted self-imposed exile.
Heiner, the author (a boisterous Andrew Buckland), tells Max that he discovered his debut novel, “Blossom of the Roses,” promising and invitations Max to spar with him about politics in entrance of a feminine interviewer who’s entranced — by Heiner. At certainly one of Heiner’s events, Max encounters a gaggle of his college students, together with the flirtatious one (Zandile Tisani) who introduces him to cocaine. We subsequent see Max holding court docket below the affect, proclaiming, “You cannot compare Hitler to Shaka Zulu,” the warrior king. Many of the chortle strains listed here are equally surprising.
After a Viagra-induced coronary heart assault, Heiner strikes in with Max and his lovely journalist spouse (Pearl Thusi), and Max begins imagining his personal cuckold’s story occurring to him. “Catching Feelings” begins to sag a bit of at this level; cultural specificity or no, the spectacle of a person exploding his personal life for no good purpose is a well-recognized one. But the sensation I used to be left with when all was stated and executed was the satisfying certainly one of having encountered a recent new comedic voice.