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  • Die Musterknaben (lit. The Prigs) is the inaugural episode of three made for TV police flicks, and earned a VFF TV-Movie Award.

    Surprisingly, the mini-series is quite unknown even in Germany - and undeservedly at that.

    The main characters, which are superbly played by Juergen Tarrach and Oliver Korittke, are archetypal urban anti-heroes, be it professionally, or in their private lives. They are chronically unmotivated and usually only excel to impress women. When doing the latter, they try to outdo each other, but ultimately always fail to land with the target of their affection. However, it leads to the case they are working on being solved, more or less as a by-product.

    The outward appearance of the slightly chubby Tarrach, and the skinny Korittke, is not coincidentally calling on images of the legendary Hardy/Laurel duo. The two are constantly slagging each other in funny, yet intelligent and witty dialogues.

    The plot isn't anything to write home about, but is set dead centre lower middle class in one of Germany's biggest cities, oozing local colour. It not only picks heavily on stereotypes associated with this milieu, it brilliantly persiflages it with loving attention to detail.

    Add to this the hierarchy within the German state police, with which the two main protagonists often clash, and some corrupt undercover DEA officers, which have long switched sides, and you have a nicely satirical and entertaining take on 'serious' German police series.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Die Musterknaben" or "Die Musterknaben 1 - Dumm wie Brot" is a German film from 1997, so it will have its 20th anniversary next year. The writer and director is Ralf Huettner and it was probably his most known work until "Vincent will Meer". He worked on the script together with prolific actor Dominc Raacke. The two title characters are played by Oliver Korittke and Jürgen Tarrach, both fairly famous here in Germany and if you take a closer look at the cast you will find more familiar names like Herbert Knaup and Alexander Held. The female main character is played by Dutch actress Ellen Ten Damme and I am not really familiar with her. According to IMDb, this one here is her most known performance. She plays the love interest to Tarrach's character. Tarrach and Korittke play two police officers who are undoubtedly among the least capable of the police force as they keep messing up again and again, but still manage not to get fired. When the police force manages to get close to arresting a handful very important and dangerous drug dealers, things get very chaotic and complicated when our two (anti-)heroes enter the picture.

    I personally must say I did not enjoy the watch too much here. Tarrach was good, but the German Film Award nomination baffled me a bit for sure. Korittke I have never been a big fan of and watching him in here was more irritating than entertaining too. Knaup has some good moments, especially near the end as a wolf in sheep's clothing, but he alone cannot make up for the film's weaknesses. It never felt too authentic or interesting from the drama/thriller perspective and let us be honest: The whole plot is extremely absurd and rarely makes sense. So in order for this film to succeed, they need to deliver very convincingly in the comedy department, but I also never found it a funny watch and most of the jokes are fairly lame. There are two sequels because of the success of this one and after having watched film number 2 from 1999, I can luckily say the quality gets better. Maybe check out my review if you are curious about details. But the first installment is still really weak. I don't recommend the watch.