DVD Review - Men to Kiss

Alexandra Starnitzky (left) and
Frank Christian Marx in "Men to Kiss"
A gay male couple is threatened when an old friend comes to visit. This is a German film, which like the other German film this past year Cibrâil has a lot of beauty shots of Alexanderplatz in Berlin. Except, instead of a straight couple being torn apart by a gay man, Men to Kiss has a gay couple torn apart by a straight woman. The big difference is that this movie is a comedy that's meant to be wacky and over-the-top.

Frank Christian Marx stars as Ernie Knuddelmann, a small-town boy who now works as a banker. Udo Lutz co-stars as Tobi Rückert, the boyfriend of Ernie whose profession is undetermined. Ernie is more masculine. Tobi is more flamboyant. The two fit together. I think there's chemistry there. The one issue seems to be the circle of friends. The immediate circle consists of two couples.

One couple is another gay male pair. The second is a straight pair. The other gay couple is Leo and Alex. Leo is played by Marcel Schlutt and Alex is played by Andre Schneider. In some ways, this film is a sequel because Lutz, Schlutt and Schneider starred in the film titled Alex and Leo (2010) where all three played the same characters. Marx who plays Ernie is new to the bunch and that is perhaps the point.

Leo and Alex are analogous to Ernie and Tobi. They could be considered mirrors, but the straight couple is Steffi and Kurt. Steffi, played by Sascia Haj, is a beautiful, white woman of a certain age and Kurt, played by Dominik Djialieu, is 15 years younger and a black man. The dynamic between the two is funny because Kurt is younger than Steffi but he acts older. She smokes pot and goofs off, whereas Kurt is more serious and responsible about things. Both Haj and Djialieu also appeared in Alex and Leo.

All of these friends get along with both Ernie and Tobi, but the sense is conveyed that Alex, Leo, Steffi and Kurt were perhaps Tobi's friends first and then Ernie joined the group. The friends are more Tobi's. As such, Ernie might feel like a bit of an outsider, which is why he wants his best friend, probably prior to meeting Tobi and his mates, to visit and stay with him.

Alexandra Starnitzky plays Uta, the best friend of Ernie from the past. She comes to reclaim Ernie. Tobi picks up on this and immediately doesn't like her for it. The circle of friends are loyal to Tobi, so they side with him. Uta is no angel. She in turn doesn't like them and a rivalry develops. Uta, in fact, threatens Tobi in more ways than one. She doesn't let Ernie see her bad side, so when Tobi challenges her or speaks against her, Ernie doesn't believe it, which causes a rift between the two.

The plot to resolve the conflict and end the rift descends into complete farce and just wacky hijinks. It becomes very cartoonish. Both Marx and Lutz are cute and funny together. Seeing them play ping-pong or wear suits made of balloons is amusing.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for 14 and Up.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 27 mins.


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