I went to see this not expecting much and was very pleasantly surprised. Thomas Heinemann's directorial debut has good timing, lovable characters and a cast of capable actors who obviously enjoy the change from the saccharine made-for-TV pieces that usually pay their rent. Philipp Sonntag as the despairing patriarch, Peter Lohmeyer as a grumpy father of seven and Christiane Paul as a classy hooker are the icing on the cake of a fine ensemble performance. Also watch out for the director's daughter Carlotta Heinemann in the part of Lohmeyer's bratty teenage daughter Mandy. The plot follows oddball bachelor Erwin Pelzig (Frank-Markus Barwasser) as he tries to make everyone see what (he thinks) is best for them. As a psychic of sorts, Pelzig is uniquely qualified to give advice and support. Most every night, an enchanted kitchen appliance gives him a glimpse of the future in the icy glare of the refrigerator light. Most movies with a social mission, such as Hans Weingartner's recent "The Edukators" and "Free Rainer", end up as political pamphlets in the guise of entertainment. By contrast, Heinemann meets capitalism on its own terms: with cunning, conspiracy and the occasional leap of faith. Go see it if you liked "Beresina". Without quite reaching the absurd abandon of Daniel Schmid's 1999 masterpiece, Thomas Heinemann is going places.
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