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I saw this at the 2004 Palm Springs Film Fest. It's not a great film, that would likely garner many awards. But for its fairly light-hearted veneer this one was a real charmer. And though it's not addressing any really significant issues to any great depth, there were some "secrets" that seemed to be buried just beneath the generally warm fuzzy surface. Although it covers a lot of the same ground that's been covered in 17,842 other films "Liegen Lernen" does it in a way that's a little less smarmy or girlie-mushy.
Most "chick films" or romantic comedies center on the female lead or on both the female and male lead. It was refreshing to see the focus in this one be almost exclusively from the male perspective. But don't let that stop you if you're one of the fairer sex.
Some might think it's a cheap shortcut but Helmut's narration voice-over gives you a chance to really get inside his head. The conflict in his head that pulls him between typical adolescent male behavior - even beyond adolescence - and enlightened adulthood is clearer and presented in a way that many guys can relate to.
The characters and Helmut's relationships with them are realistic ones that people on both sides of the Atlantic can relate to: small, manageable circles of high school friends; college and young adult years spent with an odd assortment of roommates; old friends found, even if briefly; and, of course, a variety of loves that sometimes intersect but somehow all seem to be the driving force in one's life.
It's funny without reverting to gross out gags - though there's nothing wrong with them, as a rule. It's touching without feeling like an afterschool special. It's insightful without being overbearing. The soundtrack with a seemingly intentional absence of soaring violins and goofy pop love songs is appropriate as well.
On the whole, this is a well-balanced movie that leaves you feeling like, "Why can't more films be like this one?"
Like most non-U.S. produced films, this one is probably difficult if not impossible to find in the U.S. but if you can, rent/buy/borrow it.
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