GO FOR ZUCKER!
Having left his mother and brother in East Berlin just before the Wall went up, Jaeckie Zucker (Henry Hubchen) also left behind his Jewish name, Jakob Zuckerman and all things Jewish. In the 40 years he has spent on the West side of the Wall, Jaeckie has become a hot pool player and gambler and liar, whose family are at their wits end with him. And his debts are mounting. Now comes news that his mother has died and her will demands that Jaeckie and brother Samuel (Udo Samel), an orthodox Jew living in Frankfurt, must spend the formal seven day grieving - shiva - together, and reconcile if they are to share her inheritance. Samuel arrives to bury their mother and the axe, along with his wife (Golda Tencer) and son (Steffen Groth), while the Zuckers try to learn to be Jewish overnight and Jaeckie has to be at shiva and the big money pool championship at the same time.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The most appealing aspect of Go For Zucker! is that it is not politically correct, stirring comedy out of the clash within a culture, as distinct from films that use clashes of cultures for their comedy. Here is a microcosm of German life within a Jewish family setting, not something that is a frequent theme in films. A lapsed Jew, whose primary talent is shooting pool, is forced to confront his past through the death of his mother. These are iconic matters for anyone, especially for Jews. Add to the elements the brotherly distance and the Berlin Wall, and the plot is sticky with the glue of human interaction.
Dani Levy wrangles these themes adroitly, and maintains the brazen nature of Jewish humour, in which there is more friction than you might expect. The tension is supplied by more than the quest for the inheritance; other layers of tension are provided by Jaeckie's determination to attend the pool contest which offers 100,000 euros as first prize, which would extinguish his debts. He fakes heart problems to get out of his family funeral obligations and sneaks into the pool hall. But these tactics tend to backfire.
Performances are tops, and there is a wonderful array of characters, whose physicality is as diverse as their temperament. Jewish humour is better with schutzpah and there is enough on display to drive the comedy, and while the film is not quite as hilarious as its makers claim, it is entertaining and will certainly appeal to its target audience.
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GO FOR ZUCKER! (M)
Alles auf Zucker!
CAST: Henry Hübchen, Hannelore Elsner, Udo Samel, Golda Tencer, Steffen Groth, Anja Franke, Sebastian Blomberg, Elena Uhlig, Rolf Hoppe
PRODUCER: Manuela Stehr
DIRECTOR: Dani Levy
SCRIPT: Dani Levy, Holger Franke
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Carl F. Koschnick
EDITOR: Elena Bormund
MUSIC: Niki Resier
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Christian M. Goldbeck
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Champion Pictures
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 4, 2006
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