Review: ‘Flodder in Amerika’

A bunch of Dutch tree-hangers cause cross-cultural confusion in "Flodder Does Manhattan!," a gross-out comedy that picks up speed once it hits Gotham but is never as funny as it ought to be.

A bunch of Dutch tree-hangers cause cross-cultural confusion in “Flodder Does Manhattan!,” a gross-out comedy that picks up speed once it hits Gotham but is never as funny as it ought to be.

Pic is a belated follow-up to the 1986 Dutch record-breaker “Flodder,” also directed by Dick Maas (“Amsterdamned,””The Lift”). Current item zoomed to the top of the local B.O. charts in 1992 (beating “Basic Instinct” into second place), and has already played in some Euro territories. But major shearing would be necessary for this to work even as a curio in English-speaking markets.

Labored opening in the Netherlands has the Flodder family (a cross between Li’l Abner’s brood and the Beverly Hillbillies) getting a trip to New York City as part of a yearlong government exchange of Dutch and American families.

Mistaken at the airport for a Russian delegation, they’re carted off to the Plaza Hotel, wreck the joint, and later land a deal with a businessman to redecorate his nightclub in Dutch style. Subplot has the U.S. president’s spoiled son falling for the Flodders’ pneumatic daughter, Casey (Tatjana Simic), who’s working as a stripper at the niterie.

Best bits are the action sequences (including a clever effect of a car crashing onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange), generally done with a panache missing from the verbal comedy. Latter relies heavily on jokes about Simic’s breasts. Occasional nudity reaches a nadir in a fantasy sequence involving women basketball players.

Performances are robust and tech credits OK. In English version, all the Dutch have funny accents.

Flodder in Amerika

Production

A United Intl. Pictures release of a First Floor Features production. Produced by Laurens Geels, Dick Maas. Directed, written by Dick Maas.

Crew

Camera (Fujicolor), Marc van Felperlaan; supervising editor, Hans van Dongen; production design, Peter Jansen; art direction, Alfred Shaarf; costume design, Annie Verhoeven; sound (Dolby SR), Georges Bossaers; assistant director, Myrna van Gylst; production supervisor (N.Y.), Richard Coll. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 19, 1993. Running time:114 MIN.
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