Love at First Hiccough

A teen comedy about losing one's virginity, this sweet Danish pic --- a commercial hit on its home turf --- makes an interesting comparison with similarly themed Hollywood items of the "American Pie" variety. First feature of young actor-turned-director Tomas Villum Jensen, "Love at First Hiccough" examines the rituals of dating, infatuation and rejection with sympathetic insight. TV programmers take note.

With:
Anja ..... Sofie Lassen Kahlke Victor ..... Robert Hansen Torkild ..... Karl Bille Gitte ..... Mira Wanting Nikolaj ..... Jonas Gulstorff Esben ..... Rasmus Albeck Brian ..... Sebastian Jessen

A teen comedy about losing one’s virginity, this sweet Danish pic — a commercial hit on its home turf — makes an interesting comparison with similarly themed Hollywood items of the “American Pie” variety. First feature of young actor-turned-director Tomas Villum Jensen, “Love at First Hiccough” examines the rituals of dating, infatuation and rejection with sympathetic insight. TV programmers take note.

In the town of Lyngby, 16-year-old Victor (Robert Hansen) becomes infatuated with the lovely Anja (Sofie Lassen Kahlke), though she’s two years older than he is and has a boyfriend, Peter, who drives a Porsche. Luckily for Victor, his little brother, Esben, and Anja’s little brother, Brian, are best buddies.

Victor manages to persuade Anja to come to his class party with her girlfriend, Gitte, but when he asks her for a dance he’s overcome with an attack of hiccoughs. Later, he overhears Peter telling Gitte he plans to seduce the still virginal Anja the following night — she will be just another conquest for him.

Victor manages to disrupt Peter’s dastardly plans, but, a short time later, he creates chaos at Anja’s birthday party (Brian has told him the present Anja would like best is a tarantula, and he’s naive enough to believe it). Despite these setbacks, Anja agrees to go on a date with him — she even suggests they do “it” together, although the maladroit Romeo has to get his little brother to go to the store to buy condoms.

Though it covers familiar ground, there’s a freshness to “Love at First Hiccough” that’s highly attractive. The scene in which the couple finally make it to bed and Victor has all sorts of problems with a condom is handled without the nudging vulgarity so often found in this sort of film.

Rasmus Albeck and Sebastian Jessen are fun to have around as the naughty, old-beyond-their-years little brothers, who decide to make a video (they call it “Titanic II”) based on their siblings’ romantic adventures. Hansen is gently amusing as the lovesick Victor, while the radiant Kahlke is every teenage boy’s idea of the perfect sweetheart.

Film is beautifully photographed by veteran Dirk Bruel, and there’s a lively soundtrack of songs by Danish group Innocent Blood.

Love at First Hiccough

(DENMARK)

Production: A Regner Grasten Film production in association with TV2/Denmark, Danish Film Institute. (International sales: Nordisk Film, Copenhagen.) Produced by Regner Grasten. Directed, written by Tomas Villum Jensen.

Crew: Camera (color), Dirk Bruel; editor, Thomas Krag; music, Innocent Blood; production designer, Viggo Bentzon; assistant director, Henning Sprogoe; casting, Jette Termann. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 14, 2000. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: Anja ..... Sofie Lassen Kahlke Victor ..... Robert Hansen Torkild ..... Karl Bille Gitte ..... Mira Wanting Nikolaj ..... Jonas Gulstorff Esben ..... Rasmus Albeck Brian ..... Sebastian Jessen

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