Spud 2: The Madness Continues is a follow-up to the film Spud. Like the cinematic predecessor before it this one is also based on a novel by John van de Ruit which tells a coming-of-age tale at a boys boarding school in South Africa. While the first film takes place against the end of apartheid and is very much Spud’s tale, the sequel begins to tell the story in the immediate aftermath thereof and is more an ensemble piece than the prior film.
It is the nuclear subplot in the film that is the most effective. In John (“Spud” Troye Sivan’s) home where his mother (Julie Summers) is insisting she wants to move to England for she feels she cannot adapt to the new South African reality, whereas Spud and his father (Aaron McIlroy) are perfectly content where they are.
While the romantic storyline is followed up from the first film and some good growth is shown there the film essentially ends up being too sporadic. Again there is a schoolyear-long structure to the story. The major difference here is that the flow is not nearly as good. That and the other members of the Crazy Eight (Spud’s group of friends) get more screentime in less substantive and interwoven manners than in the first installment. Add that to the emergence of the Normal Seven (A group of first years who are singled out and hazed for their normality by the Crazy Eight). Then when you add the late-game re-emergence and lessening of The Guv (John Cleese) the attentions are divided and the plot spread thin.
There are some laughs and good times to be had but eventually the trudging narrative does wear a bit. A misstep in the follow-up in a series is not unusual. With a third film released in South Africa in November and hitting iTunes globally this year hopefully the series concludes on a better note.