- Last Updated: 11:42 PM, November 30, 2012
- Posted: 10:48 PM, November 29, 2012
WHAT A MAN
In German, with English subtitles. Running time: 95 minutes. Rated R (sex, profanity). At the Empire, 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.
Nice-looking milquetoast guys in real life do, on occasion, have imperiously shrewish girlfriends. But do they always have an even more attractive, winsome girl just waiting to offer them true love? In the movies they do, and not just stateside.
“What a Man,” which marks the directorial debut of star Matthias Schweighöfer, was a hit in Germany; he also co-wrote the script. Schweighöfer gives his own character, schoolteacher Alex, a romantic-comedy setup with all the trimmings.
Alex is about to get dumped by his shrew (Mavie Hörbiger) and move in with his suspiciously gorgeous best friend (Sibel Kekilli of “Game of Thrones”). Naturally, Alex has another friend, Okke (Elyas M’Barek), who’s coaching him on how to become a lady-killer, and naturally Okke is only slightly less clueless than Alex.
The plot is predictable, as complications line up like jets awaiting takeoff. Even the camera work is predictable: The attractive-girl’s-scary-boyfriend-suddenly-pops-up shot; the morning-after, face-in-the-pillow shot.
It isn’t altogether wearisome. The actors play their roles as though no one told them that they’re clichés, the Frankfurt setting is pretty and laughs are scattered around like throw pillows. Still, like the breathy cover version of the title song that subs for Linda Lyndell’s 180-proof original, “What a Man” is a weak brew.