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Männer wie wir
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Reviews & Ratings for
Guys and Balls More at IMDbPro »Männer wie wir (original title)

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26 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Heartwarming, funny and great!

10/10
Author: EnchantedAngel from Germany
20 October 2004

I was really looking forward to seeing this film ever since I saw an ad for it on TV. And when I finally went and saw it I was not disappointed at all. On the contrary: this is a great film! It's funny, light-hearted and brilliantly cast. The story focuses on Ecki, a young man who works in a bakery in a very small rural community and plays football in his local team. When his team-members find out that he is gay they throw him out of the team. With the help of his sister he subsequently tries to form an all-gay football-team to challenge his old team in a match. And this journey through tough-guy town Dortmund is really, really funny! The incredibly talented cast (especially leading man Maximilian Brückner) pull every scene off and make it believable. OK, there are clichés in this film but they are also made fun of and not taken seriously at the same time. The movie also features a love story between Ecki and Sven, his cute team-mate and these two characters are totally cliché-free.

This is a very good film and I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a really good laugh, see really good acting and a really touching love story - all in one film!

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Good looking guys, leather and chains, love, revenge, and... soccer!

8/10
Author: HotLib-2 from Germany
13 October 2004

Ecki is goalkeeper for the soccer-team in his small hometown in Germany (near Dortmund). After losing an important game, his mates accidentally find out that he is gay. They throw him out of the team. Out of anger and hurt he dares them to play against a gay team. Ecki has only four weeks to build this team and train them.

The movie plays with clichés in a hilarious and yet pleasant way. Good looking guys, leather and chains, love, revenge, and soccer. Witty dialogues and good action. Highly recommended.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Cliché'd? yes. Good? YESSS!!!!

10/10
Author: vivo4 from Canada
11 August 2005

Sure, this movie follows a formula, actually many formulas, about gay vs. straight flicks, soccer flicks, sports hero flicks, guy gets the guy flicks - but it does them all VERY well and with both love and humour. Although there is every cliché in the book here about masculinity and coming out, there is an equal emphasis on NON-stereotypical gay men. Ercin the Turkish player is as nelly as they come but hey, he's a Turk represented in a German soccer flick, AND his Dad is obviously 100% supportive and proud of him, fluffy hand-gestures and all. Hotte may be a stereotypical leather guy, but he's also a juggernaut on the field who strikes terror in his opponents. Our hero is so gosh-golly "straight-looking" that I had trouble believing in him as a gay guy in the opening sequence, but his dalliances with Sven change all that. I've been out since 1979 and have seen ALL the big- name "gay" movies. Some good, some downright awful. This one felt real, was engaging from the outset and made me laugh, good hearty belly-laughs, from end to end. I loved it. You will too.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Bend over Beckham

6/10
Author: fnorful from United States
2 April 2006

This moves pretty well through the various expected clichés: losing one's group identity while forging a new one, showing the group who kicked you out you're better than them, guys who cheat eventually lose, love conquers all.

Funny, too. All the usual stereotypes are presented, with the over-the-top characters being balanced by the more authentic core characters. Nice symbolic use of gold-toned lighting to highlight original innocence, once lost now returned.

The score is fun and well-paced. The ending is more Indie than expected and thus more satisfying.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Very well made and non-offending comedy

Author: andyandi from New York City
17 November 2004

I found the movie very entertaining, sometimes it was pushing the stereotypes, but it was never ever insulting. Actually it was a gay friend that recommended me to watch the movie. As a matter of fact, the movie portrayed gay men as very diverse showing different personalities with different attributes. It is a great comedy, not comparable to ridiculously and sometimes even offending movies like "Traumschiff Enterprise". Maenner wie wir paints a very positive picture of gay men and does hold a very supporting view in a comedian fashion. In fact, every major character shows understanding and respect for gay men by the end of the movie. I have to add that I thought the acting of Eckis parents (Saskia Vester and Dietmar Baer) was just great.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

funny, delightful comedy about a newly-formed gay soccer team that takes on prejudice and intolerance

8/10
Author: jgtcleveland from United States
18 March 2006

Yes, it has been done before-- an "against all odds" sports film. But this film tackles the genre in a funny, laugh-out-loud way. An odd assortment of characters-- some eccentric but all pretty much everyday folks-- are well-presented. The dialog is witty, the romance is sweet and the film is well-paced. You really root for these characters-- you like them and care about them. A light and fun two hours with no heavy messages or polemics. Sure, the film is predictable but the humor and the fact that you care for the characters prevents the rolling of eyes and the restlessness that often comes when you know what is ahead of you in a film.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Delightfully Entertaining

9/10
Author: rbrome from Philadelphia, United States
19 July 2005

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It's a well-made and entertaining comedy. It was my favorite film at the festival (out of 10 that I saw).

Yes... as others have noted, a lot of the comedy stems from a group of major characters fitting a checklist of the most common gay stereotypes. But it's all done in a way that's non-offensive, lighthearted, well-written, well-acted, and just funny as heck. I think you have to want to be offended to have a problem with it. And the main character (Ecki) is about as "normal" as can be. (...not to mention adorable and lovable.) Anyway, the film-making was excellent. The pace was perfect, and the plot struck a good balance of levity; it was serious enough that I cared about the characters, but stayed upbeat and fun as well.

Highly recommended.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

This film was necessary !

7/10
Author: Cummie501 from Germany
17 July 2005

Let's face the facts - there is one dominant and popular area in Western society where homosexuality is still an absolute no-no, where it simply doesn't exist (officially of course) : And this is....? Yes, it's football. Excitement and fun for billions of people all around the globe. But although roughly 5% of mankind can be considered as gay or at least bisexual no professional player ever had his public coming-out. (But statistically speaking in every team there must be at least one..which would mean a minimum of 18-20 in the German Bundesliga alone)... This is the sociological background any critic should take into account before criticizing "Männer wie wir" too harsh. Yes, I agree, in some parts this film is a bit stereotypical, but the important and optimistic message counts more than its occasional lack of sophisticated and complex characterization. Maybe this is also one of the reasons why many heterosexuals (even the liberal and educated type) feel uneasy about this film. They simply don't want gays to enter one their last retreats of pure and sweaty straight manhood. And the notion that some of these queers might even turn out to be adequate opponents on the pitch (as it happened in "Männer wie wir") is just ...like finally loosing in a penalty shoot-out after a comfortable lead.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

In Many Ways, This is Yesterday's Lunch - But a Fun and Endearing Replay!

7/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
24 September 2006

Director Sherry Horman and writer Benedikt Gollhardt have not introduced any new ideas in 'Männer wie wir' ('Guys and Balls') - team sports dependent on camaraderie, outsiders getting the last laugh, coming out stories with sports as a background, homophobia to the max, and stereotypical depictions of gay men - but they have created a movie that has enough charm to get past all of the above. It is that kind of movie that makes you groan 'Oh no, not again', but then ends up making you feel warm and sentimental despite yourself! Ecki (a very charismatic and hunky Maximilian Brückner) has grown up in a rural town, the son of a baker, and a committed soccer fan since childhood. Now as a young man he is sought after by his girlfriend Cordula (Melody Sitta) but is unable to respond to her advances. As the popular goalie on his soccer team he is hailed until quite by accident he is discovered in warm embrace with a teammate: the teammate and the team trash him for being gay, his father (Dietmar Bär) throws him out of the house, and poor Ecki departs for Dortmund to live with his sister, swearing to his team that he will return with a gay soccer team to defeat the homophobic jerks.

Ecki and his sister Susanne (Lisa Potthoff) pair off to find gay team players and find them they do, in the strangest places (this is where the film sags due to the stereotypes the director elected to cast). Ecki creates a solid team, falls in love with his sister's co-worker nurse Sven (David Rott) and despite some minor setbacks, the team boards the bus to return to Ecki's hometown to face off the enemy home team. Yes, it ends as you would imagine, but along the way the writer and director manage to make a few healthy comments about being true to yourself and your convictions.

Despite everything predictable about the film, the actors - Brückner, Roth, Potthoff, Bär, Carlo Ljubek, Saskia Vester et al - bring a homespun credibility to the story. This is one of those films that requires forgiving its shortcomings to just enjoy the ride.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Why don't we go see the gay firefighters?"

7/10
Author: CIMC from United States
5 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The protagonists are a lovable but geeky batch of characters. The antagonists are a group of generally unlikable bully sorts. The underdogs inevitably win in some symbolic battle to prove they're not losers after all. That's the Slobs vs. Snobs picture in a nutshell. They're generally light on character development and focus overwhelmingly on letting the audience know that it's okay to be geeky/ugly/fat/skinny/smelly/some other unpopular characteristic. While those messages rarely reach those that could use the lesson the films can often be a bit of fun with heroes that are easy to root for and bad guys just as easy to hate. Shelly Horman's new Guys and Balls (Männer wie wir) is a decent one. The slobs are a group of homosexual soccer players and the snobs are a team of rude, homophobic Fußballspielers in this screwball comedy.

Ecki (Maximilian Brückner) is the goalie for a small German town's soccer team. Already in the doghouse for a controversial play at the end of the last game he's totally ostracized when he makes a drunken pass at a decidedly heterosexual teammate. His longtime nemesis Udo (Carlo Lubjek) takes charge and get him kicked off the team and his parents are shocked by the news of their son's sexual orientation. Parting words between the team and their ex- goalie bring a challenge; for Ecki to field a team of homosexual for a match against his old team. He heads to the big city to find his sister in the hopes that she can help him find some gay footballers. Wouldn't ya' know it he finds a group of unlikely heroes. The group includes a trio of leather-clad bikers, a very feminine Turkish deli worker, an extremely masculine lesbian, a closet construction worker and a couple of Brazilian players. The broad spectrum of gay personality types, including stereotypes, could come off as amateur caricatures in lesser hands but Horman & crew do a fine job of compensating for the characters' lack of depth. The biker trio especially is shown with a light humor that comes at the expense of common perceptions of lifestyle leather queens rather than at the expense of the characters themselves. The dearth of character development isn't normally that big of a problem. Only when unnecessary melodrama is introduced does it intrude. Scenes between Rudolf (Christian Berkel) and his son tend to ring a bit false because we don't know much about either of them and the sudden conflict between Ecki's parents seems a bit out of place.

In the city Ecki finds not only his sister (Lisa Pothoff) but also Sven (David Rott), a handsome hospital worker with looks and soccer skills to spare. As Ecki, with the help of a drunken former soccer star for a coach, works to make the team ready for the match he also must work to put his relationship with his parents back together. Will the team be better than everyone expected? Will Ecki's parents be able to transcend their prejudices? The answers are never really in doubt just as in any film of this type.

That a film is a predictable by-the-numbers formula doesn't necessarily mean it's no good. There is a reason that formula exist, they sometimes work. A fun, light comedy that's a bit stupid and a little romantic, Guys and Balls is an example of one that does.

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