Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Henry Hübchen, Hannelore Elsner, Udo Samel, Golda Tencer, Steffen Groth, Anja Franke, Sebastian Blomberg, Elena Uhlig, Rolf Hoppe, Inga Busch
Written by: Holger Franke, Dani Levy
Directed by: Dani Levy
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: German with English subtitles
Running Time: 95
Date: 12/31/2004
IMDB

Go for Zucker (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Touch of Shiva

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

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This German comedy broke new ground and local box office records for its pleasing portrayal of Jewish characters. But in order to gain that kind of wide appeal, it quickly establishes itself as a broad, lowbrow affair, worthy of an American Ben Stiller comedy. Our hero, Jaeckie Zucker (Henry Hübchen), lives in East Berlin. While his mother and brother moved to the Western half of the country and remained Orthodox, Jaeckie eventually dropped his Jewish heritage and rituals. When his mother dies, Jaeckie learns that he will inherit only if he sits Shiva with his brother Samuel (Udo Samel) and their clashing families. Unfortunately, Jaeckie needs to attend a pool tournament during this time to hustle up enough money to pay off a massive debt. Like a bad American comedy, every joke is based on lying and desperate, slapstick attempts to cover up the ensuing lies. Each family member represents an easily-defined stereotype, and we're supposed to laugh as hang-ups become unhung and tightwads learn to loosen up. The movie's only trump card is Hübchen himself -- whom many reviewers have compared to Rodney Dangerfield -- a likeable schulb with well-lubricated comic skills. During the obligatory scene in which he becomes unwittingly high on ecstasy, he handles himself like a pro.

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