Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: What a Man

This German comedy proves that Hollywood doesn't hold the patent on rom-com conventions.

Nov 29, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1368418-What_Man_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

While the idea of a German romantic comedy may seem like an oxymoron, What a Man proves an amiable diversion that at least has the distinction of not starring Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson. Marking the directorial debut of its 31-year-old star and co-screenwriter Matthias Schweighöfer (The Red Baron, Valkyrie), this foreign import doesn’t deviate much from the formula of standard Hollywood rom-coms, although the change of scene proves refreshing.

The filmmaker plays Alex, a perfectly nice grade-school teacher who’s clearly in over his head with his gorgeous but surly live-in girlfriend Carolin (Mavie Hörbiger). Shortly into the proceedings, he discovers that she’s been unfaithful when an injury she claims was suffered in a fall actually turns out to be a result of rough sex with a hunky neighbor (Thomas Kretschmann). The tip-off occurs when a doctor counsels Alex to avoid a repeat occurrence by helpfully advising him to use a “rectal spreader” next time.

The heartbroken, insecure Alex takes refuge with his lifelong female friend Nele (Sibel Kekilli), who’s involved in a relationship of her own. Meanwhile, his best pal Okke (Elyas M’Barek) takes him under his wing and attempts to teach him how to be a “real man” via such activities as paintball.

Will Alex eventually discover that he’s fine just as he is? Will he and Nele realize that they’re made for each other, with Alex, who’s desperately afraid of flying, even making a mad dash to the airport and forcing himself to get on a plane to tell her that he loves her? Yes and yes.

Notwithstanding its slavish adherence to familiar genre conventions, the film nonetheless makes for reasonably fun viewing, thanks to its off-kilter humor and the chemistry exhibited by Scheweighöfer and Kekilli. The former is a highly appealing screen presence, especially in such amusing scenes as when Alex deals with a rebellious student by informing him just exactly what’s in the hot dog that he refuses to stop eating.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: What a Man

This German comedy proves that Hollywood doesn't hold the patent on rom-com conventions.

Nov 29, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1368418-What_Man_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

While the idea of a German romantic comedy may seem like an oxymoron, What a Man proves an amiable diversion that at least has the distinction of not starring Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson. Marking the directorial debut of its 31-year-old star and co-screenwriter Matthias Schweighöfer (The Red Baron, Valkyrie), this foreign import doesn’t deviate much from the formula of standard Hollywood rom-coms, although the change of scene proves refreshing.

The filmmaker plays Alex, a perfectly nice grade-school teacher who’s clearly in over his head with his gorgeous but surly live-in girlfriend Carolin (Mavie Hörbiger). Shortly into the proceedings, he discovers that she’s been unfaithful when an injury she claims was suffered in a fall actually turns out to be a result of rough sex with a hunky neighbor (Thomas Kretschmann). The tip-off occurs when a doctor counsels Alex to avoid a repeat occurrence by helpfully advising him to use a “rectal spreader” next time.

The heartbroken, insecure Alex takes refuge with his lifelong female friend Nele (Sibel Kekilli), who’s involved in a relationship of her own. Meanwhile, his best pal Okke (Elyas M’Barek) takes him under his wing and attempts to teach him how to be a “real man” via such activities as paintball.

Will Alex eventually discover that he’s fine just as he is? Will he and Nele realize that they’re made for each other, with Alex, who’s desperately afraid of flying, even making a mad dash to the airport and forcing himself to get on a plane to tell her that he loves her? Yes and yes.

Notwithstanding its slavish adherence to familiar genre conventions, the film nonetheless makes for reasonably fun viewing, thanks to its off-kilter humor and the chemistry exhibited by Scheweighöfer and Kekilli. The former is a highly appealing screen presence, especially in such amusing scenes as when Alex deals with a rebellious student by informing him just exactly what’s in the hot dog that he refuses to stop eating.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Film Review: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

As charming as it is delicate, this unusually low-key, if a tad overlong, animated feature brings yet more prestige to the famed Ghibli output. More »

Dear White People
Film Review: Dear White People

There won't be a smarter or funnier screenplay this year (or more striking feature directorial debut), and that is just the basis for this surprising, wonderful and quite definitive college film. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here