Director: Robert Hasfogel
Writers: Andre Schneider, Frank Christian Marx, and Juergen Hirsch
Stars: Frank Christian Marx, Udo Lutz, and Alexandra Starnitzky
Men to Kiss is a screwball German comedy that begins at the end: Ernst (Frank Christian Marx) lying on the ground, dazed & confused, covered with inflated balloons. The story is how he got there and why. Six months earlier Ernst, an introvert, arrived in Berlin for a job in banking. Into his conservative world enters Tobi (Udo Lutz), a free-spirited extrovert. Together they form an opposites attract relationship. But all is not perfect. An old friend of Ernst’s, Uta (Alexandra Starnitzky) comes into town to break them apart and keep Ernst to herself.
Uta is able to use her skills from her time in the Israeli Secret Service to spy on Ernst & Tobi, threaten Tobi, and manipulate Ernst against Tobi. But Tobi does not go quietly into the night. By enlisting the aid of his family and friends Tobi mounts a defense of his relationship. Who will prevail?
Every Gay Film Festival needs one funny gay movie, and this is that movie. Along the vein of Airplane and Naked Gun, the plot exists to set up the next joke, if not necessarily to move the main story forward. Highlights include Tobi’s many outlandish outfits, Tobi & Ernst at the nightclub, the walk & cab ride of shame, when Uta first meets Tobi & his friends, Uta & Ernst at the cafe, when Uta meets Tobi’s “mother”, and just about every scene with Uta. Cameos by popular Berlin Drag Queens are also used to comedic effect. The one shot that was out-of-place with the tone of the film was an overly steamy sex scene that should have been played more for laughs than drama.
The movie is both well made & acted, and the look is professional. In camera effects, such as those used during the pot scene, succeeded in conveying laughs while showing what the characters were experiencing. The entire cast comes across as enthusiastic and having good chemistry. The three leads play off each other affectively; their chemistry growing as the story gets crazier–Marx playing straight-man to both Lutz and Starnitzky. Of the three, Lutz had the most challenging role; playing a character that has to be both zany and melancholy.
In the end, this is light comedy that leaves you feeling better than when you arrived. And one where you will laugh out loud on many occasions.
Grade = B+