An idealistic Dutch colonial officer posted to Indonesia in the 19th century is cohvinced that he can make the kinds of changes that will actually help the local people he is in charge of, ... See full summary »
This movie has a great plot, a good script, mediocre cinematography and bad acting. Depending on which you find important, you might find it good for its kind or flat-out horrible.
Had Hollywood production values been adhered to completely, De Gulle Minnaar (lit. The Generous Lover) might actually have made a good romantic comedy of errors.
Peter is a single houseman who brings his son to school every morning and meets a lot of lonely women that way, whom he consequently sleeps with. Then he meets the beautiful Mascha and falls head over heels in love with her. Even his son seems to like her, so the story is about to end before it even started. Except ... there are still quite a few housewives who are not yet willing to give up their daily morning special, i.e. Peter.
Peter tries to ignore their beckonings, but that is pretty hard to do, especially if one of his lovers threatens to kill herself. A great set-up, but it gets even better in the second half of the film. Peter might have gotten away with his philandering, but Mascha is a famous cook show presenter and as such she is under the scrutiny of the national gossip press. A paparazzo finds out she is dating Peter and starts to stalk him. Soon his uncovering of Peter's love life is all over the papers, and Mascha breaks up with Peter.
The second half of the movie shows two people on the rebound, who just have been advertised all over the national media as good love makers, and who try to turn down advances, but at the same time are not completely averse to all the suiters.
A film like this needs not one, but two leads who can carry the movie. Otherwise you get a second What Dreams May Come, in which the actors cannot convey the least believable chemistry between the lovers. Peter Faber plays the rôle of Peter Heg on the auto-pilot, but he pulls it off, somehow. Mariska van Kolck was believably cast as the pretty, happy-go-lucky yuppie who had landed a dream job of presenting a cooking show; and Masha does not even know how to cook! Unfortunately for Van Kolck, at times there is some real acting involved, and that's where the toe-clinching, nail-biting begins. She cannot act! She is a line-sayer. You could have put a robot in her place, and it would of produced the dialogue with at least the same amount of emotion.
The unfortunate end-result is that the brain automatically starts to wander everytime Masha is on-screen, and the film starts to be only about Peter. When that happens, Peter becomes that n-th male protagonist of a Dutch film, in which the sex is more important than the story. From a love sitcom, the film turns into a documentary about a pervert.
There actually are some good actors in this movie, but only in very small parts.
Although I would generally rate the script to be good, the writing is clunky at times, ruining some of the jokes. The cinematography is effective, but crude at times. Clearly it feels like the only ones in this production who understood comedy were Peter Faber (a stand-up comedian once) and the writers, Marjan Berk and Rob Houwer.
I would love to see this remade, right this time. Perhaps by film makers from France, where they understand both how to make a comedy and how not to make a film appear flat and unintelligent; or from Britain, where they are masters of the double entendre.
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