"Der Nikolaus im Haus" is a German television movie from 2008, so this one is already over a decade old and I am not really sure if foreigners know, but Nikolaus is a something we celebrate here on 6th December each year where similar to Santa a big bearded man in a red coat with a white bears fills shoes that we put outside the night of 5th December. Just for the basics, even if it is not really important for this film and could also simply be about Santa. The director is Gabi Kubach an the writer is Henner Höhs and both were already fairly old when this film was made back then and are even older now and they have been making movies or working on them at least since the early 1970s already which means they have been active in the industry for half a century already. This may sound like something positive as it implies competence, expertise and most of all experience, but from this film here you can see that it is not really the case although Kubach is probably only partially to blame as even the best director cannot turn a crappy script into a high-quality movie. However, no excuse for Höhs. The screenplay is a complete mess. Really shocking how somebody with such a long history can come up with something like that. Plain embarrassing. I will mention a few really bad moments later on and trust me there were more than enough of these. But first of all the basics: The film runs like most small screen releases here in Germany for exactly 1.5 hours or slightly under. As for the cast, the lead actress is Christine Neubauer. And if you know a bit about German film, then you know exactly what to expect. I honestly already struggle to use the term "actress" with her. That is how bad she is. Really baffling how she was constantly cast for lead forles for deacdes really, even if luckily in rceent years now that she is approaching 60 it has gotten a bit less. She is like an even less talented brunette version of Veronica Ferres and looking at how bad the latter is that means quite something. So basically a twin to Simone Thomalla you could say. They are both really bad and also play somewhat interchangable characters and really literally the same character in every movie because they simply have no range at all. As for the others: The two child actors are not particularly good either and as they really have a lot of screen time here, it painfully shows at times with the line delivery, even if honestly the lines were also written really bad. Other than that, there are experienced actors in here like Helmut Berger (not the famous one) and the late Otto Tausig. They do not have enough screen time to shine though or make an impact whatsoever. It's never really about anybody else but Neubauer, even if I want to say that Bernhard Schir is not all bad in here, definitelytoo good for this film.
So here's a handful scenes and moments that I found were impossible to watch because of how cheesy and cringeworthy they felt. It starts right away basically as we see the protagonist at her bakery with her staff and out of nowhere she starts talking with a really wild reference that did feel entirely written about her upcoming day at the court. Also they brought in for whatever reason some sexist anti-male rambling immediately about how the judge is also just a man and therefore prone to making a wrong decision. Even more embarrassing looking at how this was written by a man. So thanks for preparing us anyway for the moment she is found guilty because we could not take the sadness otherwise. I mean we are immediately very fond of Neubauer's character right? Okay, then at the court, things get even worse because after the decision she ends up in a Santa costume on the back of a motobike fleeing from authorities. How charming. I mean it is not as if there is any security staff at the courthouse right? Or as if the cops could catch the biker who is really not riding fast at all. So stupid everything. Then she ends up at the house of the male protagonist where they immediately shove a sob story into our face that the two children have lost their mother not too long ago. And of course the longer the film goes the more they accept Neubauer's character as a bit of a replacement, even if she is super humble naturally and constantly says she is not the one to replace their mother. At the same time, she grows closer though with the male protagonist. Of course! And there are many cringeworthy moments too like when he asks if her boyfriend or husband is looking for her and her response is that she doesn't have anybody right now. So of course there needs to be romance. It is not as if anything else is going on right now in the main character's life. Or near the end, another cringeworthy romance-related scene that does not feature Schir, but the kids tell her that her father is lonely right now and may need a stuffed animal toy and she responds that she can take care of that and adds "the stuffed animal I mean". With the usual indicated smug grin in her face. Horrible to watch really. What else. Oh yeah, the little animal toys of the kids. How they get them out in the car and give each other strength through them in a playful manner was supposed to be cute I guess, but again bad writing. It does not feel realistic at all. Needless to say that near the end they give them to Neubauer's character as a gift. That much they meant to them I see. Another romance-related example would be the bedtime story. Again she acts as clumsy and unable to cope when the kids ask her to read a bedtime story to them and then she does it in the best way there is with of course Schir's character watching outside and sighing clearly falling for her.
So yeah, you see there are many many very weak moments in this movie that felt incredibly cringeworthy all of them and completely unrealistic. But you can also see the positive here. I mean we can definitely be happy our police in real life is not as stupid and incompetent as the one in this film. What other moments are there? I mean it feels like every 120 seconds they are really messing things up. Oh yeah, the antagonists. Very realistic that the two main characters run into these at the same time while already meeting through complete coincidence at the guy's house. One of the weakest moments is definitely when Neubauer's character goes to visit one of her foes (not the worse one) and of course at the same time the main antagonist enters and Neubauer unleashes on him with whipped cream. No words... Same about Neubauer spending basically the entire film in a Santa's costume. Oh my. I know she could not get home with police waiting there for her, but still. Of course she gets rid of the beard soon enough because after all we have to recognize the high-profile actress' face at least or we would be disappointed no? I could go on and on with unrealistic moments here, like how they distract the woman with the dog, even if the dog's name was kinda funny I give them that. But there is like a 100 failures for one good idea/moment. I could write a book about all that went wrong with this film. It is basically a prime example to be shown to film students on how not to make a movie at all. Shameful this is still shown occasionally on television so many years after it was made. It's like torture and if you are looking for a perfect way to lose every kind of Christmas spirit, then it would be by watching these 90 minutes. A true failure from every perspective. Highly not recommended and you should stay far far away.
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