Fantastic Fest 2021- Is “Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It” The Next “The Hangover”?: Film Review

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you threw the gang from The Hangover into genre cult classic Tucker & Dale vs. Evil? This combination may appear akin to a peanut butter and sardine sandwich, but director Yernar Nurgaliev manages to make a magnificent meal out of the tonal mismash in Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It.

The on day before his wife is about to give birth, Dastan (Daniar Alshinov) needs a break. Enlisting the help of his two lifelong best friends, they decide to take a relaxing fishing trip to decompress before the birthing. At the same time, the Kazakh mob is executing a hit not a few hundred feet away from Dastan and his friends. The film stumbles a little out of the gate as Nirgaliev tries to keep these two plotlines separate, yet still cohesive.

However, a happenstance of misfortune, which merges the two narratives, kicks Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It into high gear.  Like all great comedies, a series of coincidences drive the plot and the dark, outlandish humor forward. The film uses a combination of physical comedy and shock value to elicit laughter from the viewer.

Be warned: Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is not for the weak stomached. There are several hyper-violent scenes designed to make you squirm and chuckle uncomfortably. Even though they continue throughout the film, these shocking scenes begin to lose their pitch black comedic effect by the third act.

Thankfully, the entire cast is completely committed to their characters, which propels the film to its unbelievable conclusion. Their panicked, animated expressions to the carnage surround them are hilarious and reminiscent of a contemporary Three Stooges.

Kazakhstan may be most well known for being the “home country” of clueless, insensitive, and backwards news reporter Borat. However, as proved by the fast paced, zany nature of Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It, Yernar Nurgaliev should be Kazakhstan’s greatest cultural export.

The Silver Lining

Given the outrageous, gross out humor of Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It, one might assume that the more technical aspects of the film are sacrificed to achieve comedy greatness. However, Azamat Dulatov delivers beautiful wide, panning shots that are as strong as the best cinematography from Hollywood. The wide shots give the audience a sense of the Kazak landscape and the isolation of the characters’ environment. The panning shots are perfectly in sync with the movement of the character or object that is the central focal point. This method makes our eyes track and follow Dastan and his friends on a ocular journey.

Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is coming soon to a screen near you.

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