27 October 2012

Guys and Balls / Männer wie wir (Sherry Hormann, 2004, Germany)

I hope this movie is as dated in Germany as it is here. I lived in Germany ten years ago and I thought it was strange that although the culture is relatively tolerant and progressive, that people were more comfortable with homosexuality in the abstract. I don't know, really, I never figured out what the deal was with gay culture there.

Here we have a gay sports comedy. Ecki, the goalie of his local soccer team, inadvertently comes out of the closet when he is seen making an unwanted pass at his best friend. He leaves his podunk town in shame and his parents become laughingstocks as he seeks refuge with his sister in Dortmund. He's challenged his team to play his gay team that doesn't exist yet in four weeks' time. He scours the underbelly of Dortmund until he finds enough leather daddies and kebab queens to man his team and naturally they go back to bumblefuck and continue to act out all of the sports movie tropes you'd expect. What makes the film problematic, other than it being a movie about soccer, is that it's an endless stream of gay stereotypes, homophobic humor, and cheap sentiment. It's so funny to me that Germans are thought of as these cold robotic types by a lot of people, but they're really as cornball as anyone else.

I liked certain members of the cast though and I automatically tend to like movies more just because they're in German since I like to listen to German, in case you're wondering about the charitable rating. I guess I also have a soft spot for gay movies, and even though this one is painful to watch sometimes, it seems to mean well.

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