Reviewed By Greg Muskewitz
Posted 02/04/04 16:45:21

"Strays too far from the fairytale for any lasting impression."
2 stars (Pretty Crappy)

Not a grim Grimm, but a jocular, jovial Grimm.

Writer/director Alex van Warmerdam and co-writer Otakar Votocek put yet another contemporary, and this time, comedic spin on the Hansel and Gretel tale; the twentysomething pair (Jacob Derwig and Halina Reijn) are abandoned in the woods by their father with only a note from their mum telling them to search out an uncle in Spain. After some business with local farmers (a scenario not too distended from a Farrelly brothers sketch), they hop on a little moped through the wintry Dutch region before riding under a bridge and on the other side — voila, they’ve hit Spain. It turns out their uncle is dead (and they find this out, of course, because they speak fluent, flawless Spanish, too), but in the blink of an eye, Reijn has caught herself a doctor beau and they move in to his villa compound. Clearly being more flippant in the treatment of the fairytale, the black comedy finds itself far away from the terrain of its typical home. And for a while, this proves a worthwhile path to peruse, with van Warmerdam’s iconoclasm and tendency for the non-sequitur giving rise to a few unexpected laughs. Too soon for its own good, however, like the desert they find themselves, the humor dries up and Grimm drags on. The clever set ups and transplants are traded for a hugger-mugger style of improvisational folly. The feeling of storytelling spontaneity propounds not just a lack of vision, but of total inconsequentiality. Its gags no longer zing with well-honed execution, but the attitude is of an insouciant whatever happens, happens. Van Warmerdam’s exposition is so lightweight, so of-the-moment, is has no constitution (especially straying so far from the fairytale), it collapses. It ends with moral bankruptcy. With Henri Garcin.

[See it if you must.]

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