Anuvahood sees Adam Deacon (Kidulthood, Adulthood) playing Kenneth, a young lad growing up in an unnamed London estate. Kenneth, or ‘K’ as he likes to call himself, has ambitions as a rapper, gangster and general tough guy. In reality, however, Kenneth works in ‘Laimsbury’s’ and hangs around with an oddball bunch of misfits who waste their days in their bedrooms smoking weed and playing computer games. The story begins with Kenneth quitting his job at Laimsbury’s in order to pursue his fledgling rap career, a rather reckless move that immediately lands him and his family in dire financial trouble. Kenneth’s need to provide for his family eventually leads to him selling weed on his estate, and this in turn lands him in trouble with a local gang.
Given the obvious similarity of this scenario to Kidulthood, and the again obvious reference in the title of the film, you’d be mistaken for thinking this film was a spoof of the Kidulthood series – it isn’t. If you were expecting something equivalent to the Wayan Bros. hilarious parody of Menace II Society, Don’t be a menace to south central while drinking your juice in the hood then you are going to be very disappointed.
Besides the title, there are other signs that Anuvahood wants to be a spoof. For example the opening sequence, which is admittedly a fairly well-executed parody of the ‘gritty urban’ genre of cinema to which Kidulthood belongs. However, although what follows this opening sequence does closely follow Kidulthood, to the point of being derivative in fact, it doesn’t reference it, or the genre to which is belongs, in any kind of humorous way. Whereas Don’t be a menace… spoofed the ludicrous macho bravado of Menace II Society, Anuvahood is basically is a bad version of Kidulthood where the violence is, if anything, more realistic and gratuitous to boot.
Anuvahood Inuvawords takes itself all too seriously to be a spoof, and discounting a number of clumsily inserted cameo appearances it lacks any of the playfully absurd breaks with reality and/or film making convention that characterise spoof cinema; the only absurd incongruities arise because of poor writing, poor direction, or both.
In casting away the useful crutch of parody, then, Anuvahood finds itself shuffling meekly through the creative minefield of ‘original comedy’. Originality specifically seems to be lacking, most obviously with Kenneth’s sidekick whose theatrical melodrama shamelessly imitates Chris Tucker in Ice Cube’s Friday. The rest of Kenneth’s crew are at best non-entities, and at worst completely extraneous to the production. Most obviously a young Spanish boy wearing entirely too much foundation buzzes around uselessly only to enable a joke at the closing credits. And then there’s Kenneth himself, whose misguided bravado isn’t comic, tragic, endearing or even cringe worthy but just very, very annoying.
The derivative, unnecessary and annoying all join forces for a plot is so hacked together from various clichés and other movies it scarcely makes sense. For example; in order to set up that classic ‘interrupted home intrusion’ scenario Kenneth decides to break into someone’s flat. He is inspired to do this because he overhears that they are going to be entertaining a girlfriend at home. Wait, what? He even goes in through the bedroom for God’s sake.
These absurdities combined with an ending which is so preposterous you may as well call it a deus ex machina amount to a comedy that not only isn’t funny but fails in the most fundamental way to make any kind of sense. It will leave you pining for Kidulthood.