22 July 2011 | Nozz
A lack of comedic tension
Menachem Golan claims that he was Ephraim Kishon's first and only choice to direct a film version of Kishon's locally beloved stage comedy THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT. But Kishon did not live to supervise the adaptation, and although the play ran long and was successfully revived, the film never saw a second week at the movie houses. Here and there, Golan's strength in sentimentality is evident, as in flashbacks where he contrasts a bickering couple of the 1970s with the lovebirds they once were. An old-fashioned resort to dialect humor is less successful. But worst of all is the farcical plot thread involving a leaking jacuzzi. Rather than start with a small, believable leak and build gradually from there, Golan starts with a huge leak and has nothing left to do but follow the unbelievable with the more than unbelievable. At the same time, the owner of the jacuzzi is constantly trying to get the vendor to fix it, and the vendor avoids him, but comedic tension is never built up because the vendor easily gets the better of the owner every time. There is no balance of forces, and neither character is particularly likable. Perhaps the owner's only moment of satisfaction is winning a car chase, but the car chase was filmed with no specially skilled driving and the editing does not manage to inject enough excitement. The jacuzzi vendor is played by Meir Suissa, a much-liked comical actor in Israel, but for some reason he wears stringy hair as if he is Sal in Dog Day Afternoon. Perhaps it is supposed to add period atmosphere; it is distracting. The plot that should be the main plot, involving a young woman's marriage, is also lacking tension because although there is a threat that the wedding will not take place, there is no obvious reason that its going forward should be defended. All in all, the best thing that can be said for this movie is that because it disappeared so quickly, there is little to prevent someone else from trying to film THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT in another few years.