Starring: Kemal Sunal, Münir Özkul, Halit Akçatepe
Director: Ertem Egilmez
Running Time: 87 mins
The Chaos Class (Hababam Sınıfı) is a Turkish film about a class of lazy slackers who, upon the arrival of a new principal, decide to put their best pranks to the test in an effort to show him the ropes at a chaotic school.
Everybody likes raucous college comedy Animal House, but The Chaos Class is its precursor by a few years, with the same brand of fantastically crazy humour and silly, juvenile characters. It’s not a purely moronic comedy, and is full of lovable slackers facing off against wiley teachers, but for the most part, it achieves its main goal of making you laugh right the way through.
Now, in its home country of Turkey, The Chaos Class and its many sequels are lauded as some of the funniest comedies of all time. Abroad, however, it’s more than likely that you haven’t even heard of this so-called comedy classic. As far as the ‘best of all time’ label goes, I think that’s perhaps overstating things, but there’s no denying that for newbies, The Chaos Class more than delivers on its well-liked reputation in Turkey.
The closest Western comparison is of course Animal House: a bunch of lazy slackers attempting to get through college in the easiest way possible – cheating, smoking, drinking and partying their way through every day while the strict adults attempt to whip them into shape. The difference, however, is that where Animal House often goes into purely ridiculous, over-the-top comedy that ends with a chaotic parade that ruins an entire town, The Chaos Class takes place on a slightly smaller scale, with less propensity for preposterous idiocy.
The main fun, then, comes from the characters, which is always something worth praising in what seems like such a simple comedy. With a handful of leads that features the delightfully charismatic Shorty, and the lovably stupid Cow, doing battle with the new, wiley headmaster in Mr. Mahmut, the chemistry and comedic energy on display is really good fun to watch.
Whether it be the banter between the students or the pranks they pull on the teachers, The Chaos Class is filled with brilliant, easy laughs right the way through, with both an entertainingly frenetic vibe and a pleasingly simplistic, easy-going style that lets you sit back and just have fun with it.
I won’t say that it’s endless, belly-aching laughter throughout. Some of the humour is a little on the side of being too simplistic, and other parts just seem a little dated. Also, the film doesn’t quite have the story to really tie all the genuinely funny comedic setpieces together too well, sagging a little when the humour isn’t at its best.
With all that said, though, The Chaos Class is more than enough fun to pass an hour and a half. I wouldn’t put it as an all-time comedic classic as many in Turkey would, but there’s no denying that it’s got the farcical, fun humour and character-oriented brand of comedy to make for a thoroughly enjoyable watch from beginning to end, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.