Go For Zucker‘s humor is rooted in Jewish comic traditions, but does its broad, equal-opportunity kvetching disguise contempt? In the opening minutes alone, Jaeckie Zucker (Henry Hübchen) lies in a coma while two preening male orderlies wash his anus and make out with each other. Flash backward. Jaeckie, a former sports commentator, looks to leave his wife, but not before being threatened with jail time. Called a “TV fag” by some thug at a billiard hall, the man looks to win an upcoming poll competition in order to erase his debt, but the death of his mother puts a kink in his plans. Arriving in Frankfurt with his family, the Orthodox Samuel (Udo Samel)—a.k.a. “Uncle Ayatollah” (LOL!)—must reconcile with his brother Jaeckie by the end of shiva, as per their mother’s wishes, or risk losing the woman’s inheritance. High jinks ensue when Jaeckie repeatedly fakes a heart condition in order to get to his pool competition. Meanwhile, the family gratuitously loses their shit. Or, in Samuel’s case, his sobriety: After accidentally downing a tab of Ecstasy, he naturally takes to dancing and wanting to get felt up. Mediating much of the family’s crisis is Jaeckie’s stuttering son Thomas (Steffen Groth), a hunky piece of German man-meat everyone thinks is queer. He’s really a virgin, which means his man-cherry will inevitably be compromised, and given there’s no Orthodox law to stop cousins from porking, Samuel’s daughter Lilly (Elena Uhligh) steps up to the plate, following in the tradition of her brother Joshua (Sebastian Blomberg), who gave Thomas’s sister Jana (Anja Franke) a daughter he doesn’t know about. Exorbitantly stuffed with exclamation-pointed incident (hence my inordinate focus on the story’s plot detail), but emotionally evasive, Go For Zucker isn’t my idea of a fun time at the movies, but to be completely fair, Levi’s comedy isn’t exactly as shrill as it may sound. Rather, it’s spectacularly unoriginal. Setting up an inevitable family reconciliation between his ethnic stereotypes against a culture-clashing backdrop of random go-for-broke action, Levi telegraphs the story’s outcome early on. It’s like watching a Billy Wilder whiplash comedy like One, Two, Three, except with none of the wit or brakes.
- First Run Features
- 95 min
- Dani Levy
- Dani Levy, Holger Franke
- Henry Hübchen, Hannelore Elsner, Udo Samel, Golda Tencer, Steffen Groth, Anja Franke, Sebastian Blomberg, Elena Uhlig, Rolf Hoppe, Inga Busch
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