After being mistaken for volunteers, two fugitive crooks, who loathe old people, must overcome their prejudices to rescue a retirement village from going bankrupt.
PROJECT TITLE: Pensioners’ Day
FORMAT: Feature Film
LOGLINE: After being mistaken for volunteers, two fugitive crooks, who loathe old people, must overcome their prejudices to rescue a retirement village from going bankrupt.
GENRE: Comedy Drama
LANGUAGE: English / Afrikaans (Afrikaaps)
WRITER: Mustapha Hendricks
DIRECTOR: Bert Haitsma
PRODUCERS: Paul Egan & Mustapha Hendricks
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Boondogle Films
David and Tony are two dim-witted crooks who get their kicks (and bucks) from mugging pensioners. After an encounter with a gun-wielding old woman they land up in the back of a police van – which, to their joy, soon crashes. They escape over the nearest wall, where they are mistaken for volunteers on a two-week program at Heaven’s Gate – a retirement village on the brink of financial collapse. With the police after them, they decide to play along, despite having a disdain for the elderly. To their dismay, they are tasked with organising an Open Day for potential investors. After a rough first day under the iron-fisted general manager, Ruan, they make their escape that night – only to encounter one of the pensioners wandering the streets. With Heaven’s Gate in dire straits financially, she worries that she’s only adding to the burden. Torn between freedom and helping the village from going under, David and Tony experience an uncharacteristic sympathy for the woman and decide to stay.
But with the village understaffed, there is a lot more for them to do. Amidst plans for the Open Day, they have to whip up daily entertainment, manage chaotic mealtimes and assist residents in some pretty awkward situations. Somehow, they manage to rise to the occasion and even grow attached to their elderly charges. After discovering that one resident is being extorted by her son, Tony goes so far as to threaten the man. By treating the pensioners like buddies instead of frail old people, David and Tony bring a youthful, streetwise energy to the village. Ruan is not a fan of the new trend and constantly locks horns with the two men – his direct approach challenging their sneaky tactics. When the two genuine volunteers show up, Ruan interrogates David and Tony. They confess and he decides to turn them in. But they propose a deal: if their Open Day attracts enough investors to keep the village going, then Ruan must remain silent. He agrees. Tensions run high between the multi-ethnic pensioners, who each have their own vision for what Open Day should be. And with a lack of staff, many deep-seated personal conflicts come to light. David and Tony are about to give up when the residents finally agree on a plan. Then Ruan reveals some bad news: they only have half the funding they need for Open Day. Refusing to give up, David, Tony and the pensioners head out into the world, determined to scrounge together the outstanding money. Using tricks old and new, they manage to hustle up enough money to fill their budget.
Ruan is at boiling point when he finds the Open Day setup is nothing like he expected. But David, Tony and the residents surprise Ruan and the guests with a wonderfully riotous affair: a hybrid dance routine coupled with pensioners dressed as waitrons, serving sexy cocktails and scrumptious finger foods. With a bankroll of new investors, Ruan congratulates David and Tony with paychecks for the past two weeks. Soon after, the police arrive, having received a tip-off from the extortionist son. The residents fight tooth and nail to defend their new friends but David and Tony reveal their true identities. The residents are crushed – the men who saved their village are lowlifes who prey on the elderly. David and Tony make heartfelt apologies and give thanks: the residents have taught them to respect pensioners in a way they never have before. They are duly taken away. As David and Tony arrive in court to stand trial, they find a geriatric lawyer representing them – one of the residents donning her old advocate’s robes for a swansong performance. The other residents sit in the public gallery, determined to testify on behalf of the two men. David and Tony are sentenced to several months of community service but they have enough time to fulfil another job too – that of the new caretakers at Heaven’s Gate retirement village.