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Polt is telling a fairy tale, a dream he had of how he became emperor
of Rome 2000 years ago.
The time is cruel, bad luck if you are a slave. Germanikus is enslaved by the Romans. He is not very bright, but stumbles through the scenes and while a lot of the other slaves got killed sooner or later, he survives and makes it to the top.
The movie is just entertainment, it has no special meaning (as far as I can tell). And I admit: I did laugh at several points. The use of dialect doesn't bother me, I don't think that Polt can do without. But the dialect is not the source of fun in this film.
Most of the comedians playing other minor roles don't have the room to deliver fun or even a personality. They just appear and say some lines. The focus is just on Polt. Many flaws to be a good movie.
There are other movies out there which are really tasteless and disgusting. This one isn't that bad. It deserves 4/10. :-)
What happens when a genius of satire collides with popular comedians of German TV...? Not necessarily something good. The comedy-content is very poor and looks like thrown in just for commercial reasons to fit into the successful tradition of other German comedy-movies of the last years. But it's done very poor. Flat humour is not Polt's and his director's (Hans Christian Müller) cup of tea who have made great satires together in the 70ies/80ies for TV and the big screen. And because the comedy in "Germanikus" is loud and in the foreground, Polts more subtle ideas get almost erased totally here. I feel sorry for Polt because for me he always was and still will be the better and far more intelligent alternative to flat German comedy. Strangely, here he has delivered exactly what he does not stand for. This movie should be buried really deep. Gerhard Polt in his earlier films and especially on stage is a whole different world. A delight! But this movie here is torture. It was maybe messed up by too many cooks with too many differing interests. At least, it only can get better now! ;)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For decades Gerhard Polt, together with the likes of Loriot or Dieter
Hildebrandt, has been a pinnacle of intellectual humour. The American
reader may compare the style of George Carlin to that of Carrot Top and
then compare Polts humour to your average German slapstick performers,
who generally steal their material from US-TV anyway. Polts wit was
unique, sharply observing and reflecting his middle-class Bavarian
background in a way that few others were capable (or even dared).
Having mentioned George Carlin (or take if you like Seinfeld or Richard Pryor), imagine them acting like the silliest copy of Peewee Herman, in a movie that not only features Carrot Top BUT also Tom Green and Ernest P. Worrell! You might imagine that the film was directed by the bozos who committed those "Epic Movie"-films but to your disgust, once the credits roll, you discover that the atrocity had been filmed by Blake Edwards. Not a very dignifying thought, I know, but to mention dignity and "Germanikus" in one review is a paradox in itself.
We're told the simple yarn of Germanikus (Polt, unfortunately), a rather incompetent member of a German tribe who, through the most unlikely of circumstances, twists and many flat jokes, becomes the emperor of Rome. The road is littered with cameo appearances of many, many currently fashionable slapstick- and stand-up comedians and even less fashionable comedians, hoping for some promotion.
To his credit it must be said that Polt looks uncomfortable at all times, perhaps owning his friend and partner Hanns Christian Müller a favour. Or perhaps Müller witnessed Polt committing murder with a chainsaw and used that to blackmail Polt into the role. No less uncomfortable in her quasi-Asterix costume looks Gisela Schneeberger, having played Polts wife for the past three decades, she might have decided that there was no good reason for breaking a habit. Or perhaps the three of them just needed the money.
I can honestly say that I recommend virtually everything Polt-related. "Kehraus", "Herr Ober", "Man spricht Deutsh" or the cult TV-series "Fast Wie im Richtigen Leben"; all are highlights of German sorry, my bad, Bavarian comedy. Listen to all the audio-books and watch his stand-up show wherever he may appear. They are as brilliant as they have been for the past 40 years. Just, whatever you do, avoid "Germanikus" like the plague.
This movie has nothing to offer whatsoever. The story has no funny moments at all and the dialogs leave you with an utter feeling of emptiness. Gerhard Polt just doesn´t seem to understand that the jokes he made in his older movies were ok at the time but now are simply old and boring. The use of dialect is frequent but not in a way that would surprise you or add to the characters. The supporting cast consists of actually good actors or comedians but there lines are just not funny. I´m sorry to have wasted time on this movie. Btw the worst is still Roadflower (if you don´t know it do nothing about it)
This is another horrible excuse for a "movie". If you saw the trailer, don't expect more - the only 3 jokes in the movie were contained in the trailer. Trying to catch the audience with heavy Bavarian dialect, this film about a lucky German who is sold as a slave in Rome is an awful rip-off of "Der Schuh des Manitu", another German comedy which features a lot of dialect. Whereas "Der Schuh des Manitu" is a funny parody of Western films and has some really decent scenes, the script of "Germanikus" is stupid, boring and lacks everything a comedy must have: jokes. Probably little children could enjoy this movie. The actors are mediocre at least, sometimes awful. The producers maybe thought they could make a lot of money with a movie that's a bit like "Der Schuh des Manitu". Germanikus is a waste of time and money. Avoid this mess at all costs.
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