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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Cousins ****

Starring: Thiago Cazado, Paulo Sousa, Juliana Zancanaro, Duda Esteves

Directors: Mauro Carvalho, Thiago Cazado

Country: Brazil

Last year, director and actor Thiago Cazado released About Us, a movie that I panned as over-earnest and taking itself far too seriously. Now, as if taking on board my feedback, he has released Cousins, a tongue-in-cheek eccentric little romantic comedy romp, which is all the better for its irreverence and silliness.

Lucas (Sousa) lives with his highly religious aunt (Esteves), with whom he runs prayer meetings and is an active member of their Christian community. He is alarmed when his aunt tells him that there is a cousin coming to stay, who has just been released from prison. And to make matters worse, he will be arriving while his aunt is away. Enter Mario (Cazado), over-confident and charismatic, which Lucas initially finds intimidating before realising that his feelings are far more than fraternal for his third-cousin. As their relationship develops, they are doggedly followed by Julia (Zancanaro), a young girl from the prayer group who has maniacal designs on becoming Lucas’ girlfriend.

This could so easily have been one of those coming-of-age/coming-out films that justifies its existence by going heavy on the sex and light on the plot, but in keeping its feet firmly in comedy, we get something with a bit more substance. Don’t misunderstand, there’s still plenty of sex here – the boys are barely dressed for most of the film – but their seductions sometimes border on the absurd, the supporting cast are a handful of amusingly overblown archetypes and there are plenty of farcical sequences of people unwittingly being pursued or coming very close to discovery. At times, it has more akin to a Carry On film than About Us, which is undoubtedly a brilliant thing.

If you want camp, silly and sexy, then this sweet little romp is the perfect little film for you. And to Thiago Cazado, ALL is forgiven!

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