25 March 2005 | ngc137
A TV romantic comedy that outshines many Hollywood productions from that genre
Admittedly, this movie is one out of a legion of romantic comedies and it uses many of the standard patterns of that genre which we have seen a lot of times before. Moreover, it is not a big-budget cinema production with a top cast that was made up of Hollywood stars. It was produced for a German TV station and was shown in TV only.
Also the starting point of the story does not sound very extraordinary: Alma is a woman in her early twenties who has the problem of being much overweight. Feeling disesteemed by her fellow human beings, she flees society after work. Alone at her apartment, she tries to forget her physical problem and her loneliness by immersing into the dream world of certain Asian martial arts movies on DVD, which show a rather slender heroine. As she discusses the movies with other enthusiasts on the Internet, it turns out that one of the male movie fans sharing her cinematic passions is living in the same town as she does. However, when he asks her to describe her own person, she makes the mistake to describe herself as slender and sporty. It seems to be impossible to meet each other in real life after that ...
What is special about this movie so that it is worth a review and even worth to give it 9 out of 10 stars?
In spite of the lightness that is inherent in the comedy genre, the movie manages well to present a genuine picture of the problems that are met in society by the sexually unattractive together with their emotional reactions. (For this aspect it does not matter that Alma's problem is being overweight. It could be anything else that is making her unattractive for the opposite sex. It even does not matter so much that she is female and dreaming of a male lover. It could be the other way round.) In contrast, most romantic comedies are unable to explore the fate of sexual unattractiveness and its consequences: The leads are normally extraordinarily attractive, as nearly all movie stars are. Sometimes the dream couple is only contrasted by some odd looking pair of lovers in order to create a supporting comic effect. This movie does not choose an overweight woman in order to laugh about her appearance. It is taking her as serious as a comedy plot can take a main character serious at all.
That Alma has a problem with men because of her outward appearance cannot be overlooked: The movie does not make the frequent mistake to create a wallflower just by supplying an otherwise sexy actress with a crude pair of glasses, a dreadful haircut and strange clothes. Although Katrin Filzen (who is playing Alma) is far from being ugly, she is overweight enough here that we can believe the story which the script wants to tell us about Alma. In consequence, Alma's struggles against her fate do not have to stick to the ordinary clichés from women's magazines that make e.g. the corresponding parts of "Bridget Jones's Diary" (with the actress Renée Zellweger not as "chubby" as Bridget is supposed to be) so annoyingly shallow.
This movie is funny and has an intelligent script, and instead of making the audience laugh at the costs of those who are sharing Alma's fate in real life, it supplies comfort to them. But (surprise!) this is not being done by an unbelievable attempt to tell us that the outward appearance does not matter much at the end when humans choose someone as a partner. (Or that anyone's appearance can be changed at will, e.g. by consequent diets, training etc.) Instead we are reminded in a funny comedy way that finding the partner for life is really difficult for most people, even for the "ideal" women and men, only that for the latter it is easier to try out an affair with the wrong mate.