"Besser als Du", which means "Better than You", is a German television film from 2015, so this one is already over half a decade old and this one runs for minimally under 1.5 hours just like the vast majority of German small screen releases, especially if we are talking those by ARD and its smaller stations. The director is Isabel Kleefeld and she was slightly under 50 when she made this and a fairly experienced filmmaker as she has been active since the beginning of the new millennium. I am not too sure about her body of work as I have not seen a lot, but what I have seen is really not particularly good and the rest does not sound good either. Then again, in my opinion the writer is (almost) more key than the director because for me it is all about the story in those movies. That one would be Stefan Rogall and, with the exception that is is slightly younger than the director, basically all I said about Kleefeld fits him too, both in terms of quantity and quality. If you want to know more, go check out his body of work. The reason that this one here is probably among the most known career efforts for both of them has mostly to do with the man you see on the photo here: Christoph Maria Herbst. He has been in the industry for a long, long time, but what made him especially famous was playing the lead in the German version of "The Office". Incredibly funny show and not worse than the American version, better in fact and on par with the UK version. Everybody knows Herbst here in Germany. He also played lead character in theatrical releases over the years. And in here, he plays not one, but two key characters. You can see them on the photo. Their clothing styles are very different. But I will get to the story and characters a little later. let's stay with the basics for now: Tscharre and von Kessel are also pretty experienced actresses here in my country. I think Tscharre is definitely the better one, although neither is on par with Herbst. Luckily, Tscharre also plays the character with more screen time and more depth. Of course, these two women play the protagonist's significant others. About the rest of the cast I cannot really say too much. But I can elaborate on the title a bit. I don't like it. It sounds very competitive, but honestly, even if the two twin brothers are never really close in this movie (at best in the end), then there is also no competition between them really. They are okay with helping each other, but they do not want to be better than the other really. Weak title choice. At least that's what it felt like for me. Or didn't feel like.
As for the story, it is not really good either, very generic, very predictable and not authentic. I think with a weaker lead than Herbst, I maybe would have taken away another two stars. And I am sure that in that case, the number of ratings would also be around 50 and not around 100. So yeah, there is no denying that he elevated the material. This already becomes visible in the very first scene that has both twins together when one is inside the car. The new, wilder brother enters the stage and what Herbst does there with face expressions, is something pretty good. Also, from the technical and visual effects perspective, they did fine with how they depicted the two brothers on the screen. Nothing to complain about from a technical point ov view. Then again this has been done equally convincing in Spencer/Hill films from 30 years earlier, so we should almost take this for granted. Then there was the usual. The kids have some issues, like the girl is heartbroken and the boy has a speech impediment. These issues are not 100% solved, but at least met with dignity, even if it just felt like filler material if we are honest. So what happens here? The brothers switch roles and kinda solve each other's issues, like a marriage about to fail. It was all about the feel-good aspect here, not about realism or authenticity, but thanks to Herbst again, they are even getting away with it. In the end, thereis closure with the female protagonist no longer wanting to get a divorce and also a really successful theater play that includes one of the twins. What I personally struggled with really was that nobody saw through this charade at all. I mean they were confused by the different behavior, but the final step in the mind nobody managed to pull through with and understand it was somebody else they were talking to and interacting with. This is of course an ARD Degeto movie and as these are absolutely horrible in maybe 95% of the cases, this one we have here is still a bit of a positive surprise. I know there is a lot of money involved with those, also with the money for the actors, so I am not really surprised Herbst is a part of this. I wish he wouldn't be though. Nonetheless, I cannot really be mad at him because he made the most with what he was given. It was just not a good screenplay at all. The forced and unrealistic happy ending and the idea that things do not go south again now that everything is the way it was before is difficult to believe. The parts about certain people having sex with others was kinda funny. Herbst really showcasing his comedic talent there. And on many other occasions as well. So like I wrote earlier, normally this would be one star out of five, but I will give another for the convincing lead actor here. Then again, I am biased when it comes to him, so people who like him less or do not even know him, will maybe give a lower rating even. 6.0 where it currently stands at is way too high though. I still think it's shameful they use everybody's GEZ money for really below-average films like this one here. It is a negative recommendation for me here. I give it a thumbs-down and suggest you watch something else instead. The good news is that Herbst is in really every scene, sometimes twice even. The bad news is that for every good scene or moment, there are at least two bad scenes and moments, like come on are we really supposed to believe that the wife does not recognize this is not her husband when she kisses him. I mean she was a bit skeptical since the very beginning, but just does not come up with the correct conclusion before it all comes out. Degeto films are often very anti-male and sexist, but this one here not so much, still it cannot take a turn in which the desirable women do not find out what was going on exactly. That's all now though. Watch something else instead.
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