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Sunday, July 9, 2017

NOT MY DAY -- Movie Review by Porfle

I thought I was ready for NOT MY DAY, aka "Nicht mein Tag" (2014), but this fast and furious German comedy-action-thriller totally warped all my expectations all to hell and knocked me for a loop.

Bland but likable office drone Till (Alex Stein) is finding his bank job a bit stale, especially when the dreary retirement party of a 40-year veteran fills him with a creeping dread that he's wasting his life. 

His personal life isn't all that bad--he's well-off, with an okay wife who's a fashion designer (Anna Maria Mühe) and a cute kid.  He's just on the verge of having one of those middle-age-crazy phases that men in movies have been having ever since the movie MIDDLE AGE CRAZY came out.

Enter Nappo (Moritz Bleibtreu), a dangerous, unscrupulous bounder who, while robbing the bank and taking Till hostage, gives him a taste of adventure that proves irresistible.

Bliebtreu is even more unkempt, criminally impulsive, and funny here than when he played Manni in RUN, LOLA, RUN in 1998.  During their getaway, ample comedy mileage is gained from his frustrated reactions to Till's child-proofed car and Till's extreme nervousness in getting them through a police roadblock and high-speed escape. 

They end up at Nappo's hideout in the woods, where, upon getting to know each other better, they turn out to be quite the odd couple.  (Oscar and Felix were never like this.)

Initial personality clashes, due mainly to Nappo's amusingly manic and overbearing nature, gradually give way to a mutual tolerance and even fondness, accented throughout by some keenly funny dialogue and performances. 

We pretty much know that they'll end up being good for each other--Nappo will teach Till how to loosen up and get more out of life, while Till's positive example will plant a modicum of decency and humanity in the slightly sociopathic Nappo.  And after the whole harrowing experience, Till will learn to be content with the life he has, etc., etc.

Or not.  First, they have to survive the day, and that's where NOT MY DAY begins to spin wildly out of control, with Till getting sucked deeper into Nappo's perilous existence until he finds himself dodging bullets and running for his life from cops, Albanian gangsters, and whoever else he manages to piss off as he gets back in touch with his long-suppressed wild side.

The rest of the film is uneven in spots but still loads of fun as things start taking unexpected turns in every direction.  It's funny--Moritz Bleibtreu's performance alone is worth the price of admission, especially after he's joined by Jasmin Gerat as Nappo's freaky girlfriend Nadine--but along the way it turns into a combination crime drama, action flick, and road movie that's one of the most nail-biting and offbeat things I've seen in a long time.  There's even a kickass car chase or two.

Before it's over, Till has to risk everything to make things right in his life again as things draw to a genuinely suspenseful climax.  The adventures of Till and Nappo are full of delightful surprises, and, as is only proper in a movie such as NOT MY DAY, they bond over a Black Ford Mustang GT Fastback with yellow racing stripes.  It's a wild ride, and so is this movie. 

Opening on VOD Nationwide on Tuesday, July 11 on all major platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft, Vudu, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Vimeo, and various other cable operators

110mins / Comedy /Germany /Color / Distributor: Under The Milky Way

In German with English Subtitles


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