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Bradley R. Swirnoff
"Mockumentary" film about the Shmenge Brothers, Leutonian American Polks musicians who deciede to call it quits after a long career. Beginning in 1944 in Leutonia, a fictional Eastern European country, the film chronicles their rise to the top of the Polka music scene . Eugene Levy and John Candy are in absolutely top form as the retiring Happy Wanderers. Film works like a dream because they underplay their roles in a deadpan style that is absolutely hilarious. In color and black and white, the excellent cast features regular SCTV members. The Polka music itself is first rate and for some reason it actually respects this ethnic musical genre. I can't really say if Levy and Candy are actually playing their own instruments, but they do manage to capture the cult like retiring Polka personalities in a way that is totally believable. Their funny outfits and the dead on Eastern European accents they speak with really hit the bulls eye. The Happy Wanderers themselves remind you of those acts that played on the old Lawrence Welk show in the 60s. They are so square they are cool.The Polka music itself is so good that it really got me hooked on it. I even heard "Cabbage Rolls and Coffee" at a real wedding-a Polish wedding ! Wonder if any of the guests were aware of the "joke". Even though Levy is fine as usual,he should have been in more movies-and I don't mean the "American Pie" franchise. Candy- a great talent that was wasted in too many bad movies really shines. You believe they are real and unless you are unaware of the set up, you may think that you are actually watching a real documentary. The "tribute" to Michael Jackson is priceless. All in all, I can't recommend this movie highly enough. It makes you feel good, it makes you smile and laugh and the music is great. Even the name Shmenge is funny. I understand that it is something of a cult classic. Its easy to see why. Shmenge!
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