"Toni Erdmann" is a remarkably touching and outrageously funny portrait of a father-daughter relationship. Ines is a highly-strung career woman whose life in corporate Bucharest takes a turn for the bizarre with the arrival of her estranged father Winfried. A practical joker with a liking for silly disguises and childish pranks, Winfried attempts to reconnect with his daughter by introducing the eccentric alter ego Toni Erdmann to catch Ines off guard, not knowing how capable she is of rising to the challenge.
Painful, and not in a good way.
- Toni Erdmann review by AK
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I had the misfortune to see this in the cinema, assured by a friend that my sides would be aching from laughter one minute, and that I'd be weeping with sadness the next. The only emotion that I felt throughout the whole film (nearly THREE HOURS) was overwhelming boredom. I have never, ever checked my watch in the cinema as often as I have while watching this, regularly thinking, "Surely something funny must happen soon?"
Basically, a middle-aged jerk decides, after his dog dies, to bond with his career-dedicated daughter, something that seems to involve donning a bad wig and false teeth and introducing himself to her colleagues as someone else. Hilarious. For the first hour they are sullen and downright rude to each other, and at times he appears to be stalking her: at one point he lets himself into her flat, walks into her bedroom and hides in her cupboard when he hears her coming -- as one does- from where he spies on her.
In another scene the daughter encourages her "lover" (I use quotation marks as there is no love evident in this relationship, as there is no emotional connection between anyone throughout the whole film) to masturbate onto some petit-fours before she eats one. Yes, it's that kind of funny. As in, it's not. The acting is low-key and monotonous, the cinematography flat and this film drags, drags, drags. Laugh? I didn't even crack a smile for it's entirety, and when it ended I felt liberated from the relentless greyness.
Fans have voiced horror at the proposed US remake. As far as I'm concerned, it can only be better. I understand Bill Murray passed on the lead after "losing" his copy of the DVD of the original. My guess is he watched the first hour and then threw it in the bin.