Til Schweiger stars as tabloid reporter Ludo who gets into trouble with the law and is sentenced to 300 hours of social work in a nursery run by Anna, a long-forgotten schoolmate. She has never forgotten how he used to make fun of her. Now it's time for her to turn the tables on Ludo - though it would be easier if she didn't fall in love with her...
Unless you’re a fan of German cinema, you’re unlikely to recognize the name of Til Schweiger. Known for playing cocky, good-looking macho type roles, Schweiger is, for the lack of a better comparison, Germany’s equivalent of Matthew McConaughey. Here, Schweiger acts, co-writes, produces and directs this romantic comedy that has been a huge hit back in his native country. It’s no wonder actually- “Rabbit Without Ears” is charming and utterly winsome.
A great part of its appeal lies in the wonderful chemistry that Schweiger shares with his up-and-coming co-star Nora Tschirner. The two meet when Schweiger’s caddish reporter Ludo is sentenced to 300 hours of community service for his recklessness and ends up in a day-care centre for kids run by Tschirner’s geeky bespectacled Anna. Once the butt of Ludo’s jokes when she was young, Anna takes the opportunity to get back at Ludo.
Of course, Anna’s personal feelings soon get in the way and you can pretty much guess how it will unfold. But for what it lacks in originality, the script co-written by Schweiger and Anita Decker makes up for in a generous amount of wit. The repartee between Ludo and Anna is a delight to watch- even in its English-subtitled German- and Schweiger and Tschirner exude an easy charisma that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
In his third outing as director, Schweiger shows that he is just as comfortable in front of the camera or behind it. His confident hand guides the movie along at a breezy pace and never lets certain scenes linger past their welcome. He also shows a knack for knowing where to place the camera, such that certain shots- including the very funny opening- benefit from an added touch of humour thanks to some inspired framing choices.
But Schweiger as director is also very much attuned to Hollywood sensibilities, and “Rabbit Without Ears” feels a lot like a slick Hollywood effort. If there is one gripe one has with this movie, it’s the slightly excessive use of pop songs during the second half of the movie to move things along- much like how Hollywood likes to do so when it doesn’t have much of a story to tell (and yes, “Rabbit Without Ears” latter half could certainly be tighter). Still, the songs and their lyrics at least do fit the mood of the scene where they appear, which is a lot more than one can say about some Hollywood efforts.
Indeed, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how taken you are with this movie by the time it rolls to a finish. “Rabbit Without Ears” is an exemplary example of commercial Hollywood filmmaking coupled with much heart and affection. And in case you’re wondering if its title is just a gimmick to be unique, rest assured that it’s a motif that has its own special meaning in the film.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Though the audio is only presented in Dolby 2.0, it’ll pretty much suffice for this talky movie. The disc’s excellent visual transfer also delivers crisp clear images.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 5 July 2009