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Florian David Fitz
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If there ever was a film that made me feel it was geared for being sold up for a Hollywood remake - this was it, what with pseudo-hip-hop slang and American pop-numbers in the soundtrack. It's okay enough in its own right (just like the main character is okay at being a teacher), but it does look like it's planning on scoring big-time (again, just like the main character).
Whether I'm right or wrong about that, we're looking at a German flick that wants to be as edgy as is demanded from European films, but ends up bogged down by cookie-cutter cop-outs, in true American style. It's at its edgiest in the title itself, then in some scenes that involve teacher-student relations and then in the very premise that the best suited person for being a teacher nowadays is - an ex-con.
The ex-con, the central character, gets out of prison and finds out that the money from the robbery he was jailed for ended up buried on the school ground. He applies for a vacated teacher's spot in a bid to extract the loot, but finds out that teaching rowdy teenagers is slightly more than he bargained for. Not a new formula for the plot, but it works very efficiently. The character of Mr. Miller is written as a rude, no-nonsense guy, and many successful jokes stem from that fact. Also, the dialog is sometimes witty, quite unexpected of them Germans.
Bad, unfortunately, outweighs the good just enough to give the effort a mere middle mark. The actor in the main role, while being very handsome and having a striking on-screen appeal, gives an unbalanced performance. Many times he acts out instead of just acting and other times he merely recites the lines. The rest of the cast is also as mediocre, but in their case that isn't such a problem since their characters are written as predictable clichés anyway and don't have to carry the film.
The story itself doesn't squeeze enough out of the premise and goes for clichéd resolutions way too often. Subplots are underwritten (such as ex-con's relation to his former mates), forced (the love story) or thrown in out of the blue (the theatre play), while one crucial possibility, that the police might also be snooping around trying to recover the loot, is completely forgotten.
Clocking at 110 minutes, this is by no means a light feature. Some scenes drag on unnecessarily, especially attempts at slapstick that never really come out right. Instead of trimming down the fat, the director tried to cover up the lack of pace by - choppy editing. This is the single most outstanding technical problem in "Fack ju, Göhte" - the cuts are often so fast and abrupt they get in the way of the flow and the plot. Because of that, many scenes never have the time to really sink in, not even the draggy ones, and the comedic potential is thus lost.
Also standing out as really bad is ending the story with a typical politically correct "feelgood" closure, where an interesting societal outcast is turned into a castrated and "useful" member of the community. It makes me regard this film as one big predictable hoax and it makes me hope for a Hollywood remake, seeing how it will actually be an improvement for once.
9 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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