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The Gods Must Be Crazy II (May 9/04)

Xixo (N!xau), that lovable bushman from The Gods Must Be Crazy, returns in this sequel, which is virtually guaranteed to please those that enjoyed the original. Like the first film, The Gods Must Be Crazy II features three separate plot strands that eventually come together as the movie draws to a close.

This time around, Xixo's adventure kicks off when his two children go missing after inadvertently hitching a ride with two evil ivory poachers. Meanwhile, a visiting New Yorker (Lena Farugia) finds herself stuck in the outback with a gruff local (Hans Strydom) who doesn't take kindly to dainty outsiders. Finally, in the wackiest subplot, two soldiers from opposing factions take turns holding each other hostage (there's only one gun, and neither can seem to hold onto it for very long).

Admittedly, it takes a while to get into the film's groove. There's not much in the way of character development or realistic plot developments in the offing here; writer/director Jamie Uys clearly has a love for slapstick, which he brings to virtually every second of the film. This isn't a bad thing, though, as Uys does a fine job of blending such moments into the greater scheme of things. And while this gives the film a less-than-memorable feel, it's hard not to get a kick out of watching a character battle over a cup of water with a baboon.

The ingratiating nature of the characters - particularly N!xau's Xixo - goes a long way towards making the film entertaining, even through some of the more repetitive sequences. Though Uys keeps dialogue to a minimum (which is probably a good thing, as all the performers seem to have been dubbed), the actors are nonetheless able to create intriguing characters, a big plus considering Uys' throws them into one impossibly slapstick situation after another.

Like the original, though, Uys includes an action-oriented subplot that doesn't jibe with the easy-going spirit of the rest of the film. Still, The Gods Must Be Crazy II is enjoyable enough, and there's no doubt that kids will love it.

out of

About the DVD: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment presents The Gods Must Be Crazy II with a letterboxed transfer, in a package that includes the first film. The disc's sole extra is a six-minute tribute to director Jamie Uys, with cinematographer Buster Reynolds remembering the late filmmaker. Also included are bonus trailers for Hanky Panky, Groundhog Day, and Murder by Death.