The Netflix Report

Movie reviews from my Netflix queue. Highly personal and opinionated!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Advertising Rules!

That title is an American release change from the original German title of “Viktor Vogel – Commercial Man.” Yes, this is another German import with English subtitles (very clear and understandable. No funny mistranslations that I noticed).

The movie is unfortunately a “Hit You Over The Head With A Message” film, but is delivered in a bright, breezy and fun way so that you don’t really mind. This is mainly due to fine acting from everybody involved and a directorial style that puts the story up front without calling attention to the moviemaking process.

I felt reminded at times of the American release from two years ago “In Good Company”, which you might have seen. This is another tale about a very young man entering the big bad corporate world, forging an uneasy friendship with an older, more cynical and experienced mentor and having to balance his professional aspirations against the inevitable complications with a love interest. Of course he learns about the capricious nature of corporate loyalty, the importance of prioritizing personal relationships, and so on.

This time around, the young man goes to work for a major Frankfurt advertising agency pitching major multi-million client campaigns. Alexander Scheer plays the completely relaxed and free-living young Viktor Vogel, and you can’t help liking him right from the first scene. The elderly mentor is played by Gotz George, looking a little like a Harrison Ford/Kris Kristofferson/Jeff Bridges mix. I was very impressed by his acting, and in looking him up on IMDB, I find that he’s been acting steadily in film and TV since 1957! I guess he should have it down by now.

The story line has the usual comedic and dramatic conflicts, improbable resolutions, and deus ex machina rescues from troubles. But as a light romantic comedy, none of that matters much. It’s a frothy romp and well-made throughout. Worth a popcorn evening rental.

Oh yes, parental notes: No nudity or sex. Minor fisticuff violence. Some swearing in the subtitles. But no major objections. Not made for kiddies, of course.

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