Listen up all you Bakgat superfans. Yes, both of you listen up, because I have some big news. The final part of the illustrious “Bakgat” trilogy is now complete. The world was not satisfied with merely having Bakgat 1 and 2 in existence; the art of comedy itself cried down from the heavens that yet another installment was needed, otherwise how on earth would we ever have closure? Truly, this is set to be an experience for the ages.
The plot features our stalwart hero; Wimpie Koekermoer (Botha), a man with a name that stopped being funny moments after it was said the first time, and his long suffering fiancée Katrien (van der Merwe-Coetzee), moving to London, where Wimpie has received a position at a local rugby club. Let no one think characterization has not occurred; where once Wimpie had a role as the nerdy kid made good, now he is a generic rugby-captain figure. Whereas Katrien was once the most popular, hottest girl in school, now she suffers as the generic bride to be, simultaneously complaining at her man constantly and also simply being an object for him to fight for at the same time. Nevertheless, the couple soon find life in London is less than idyllic, and Wimpie decides to form his own rugby team, out of immigrated South Africans, of which there are a few in London I’m sure. At the same time he must compete against a handsome new suitor for Katrien, who is evil mostly because he acts like someone who cares about Katrien’s opinion more than rugby.
The main problem I have with Bakgat 3 is that it all just feels a little bit sad, as though it reflects real life too much, despite its happy-go-lucky, easy-to-overcome atmosphere. At the end of Bakgat 2, which was more of a generic teen comedy, life seemed boundless for our heroes. Now, they’re just another parody of the sad South African emigrants, in a country that is not theirs, in which they desperately hope to still claim some of their former identity, even as their hopes and dreams crumble around them.
I never thought I would read so much into a Bakgat movie, but it’s a much better avenue to explore than just looking at the jokes, which are terrible and played out a hundred times better already. People are awkward. Foreigners are funny. South Africans are stereotypes. Gays are funny. Getting smacked is funny. It’s all so terribly trite and terrible. We could make good comedies; we really could, as a nation, if we wanted to. But still, this is what we keep putting out.
Oh well. It’s not that harmful, and if it makes people laugh, well, good for you. But it’s just so unambitious as a movie, that it actually upsets me. Leave old franchises to die, and let’s move on, as a nation. There’s more to life than diarrhea jokes, and let’s find that world together now.