"Peace has its price," says an unseen angel at the start of "Boomerang," a lively, if familiar-looking, Balkan comedy scripted around the topsy-turvy values proliferating in post-war Serbia. Helmer Dragan Marinkovic trains his irony on a handful of gun-toting, punch-happy characters who have trouble keeping weddings, births and murders separate.

“Peace has its price,” says an unseen angel at the start of “Boomerang,” a lively, if familiar-looking, Balkan comedy scripted around the topsy-turvy values proliferating in post-war Serbia. Helmer Dragan Marinkovic trains his irony on a handful of gun-toting, punch-happy characters who have trouble keeping weddings, births and murders separate. The cast of crazies is amusing enough, but in translation the jokes about sex, gunfire, drinking and movies are a little too lead-shoed to be funny. Pic’s main interest for offshore fests and art venues is that it’s clearly a film of its time and place, which is spelled out as “Serbia, after our slight misunderstanding with the rest of the world.”

Bobbi (Lazar Ristovski), owner of the Boomerang cafe, keeps two pistols and a shotgun behind the counter, just in case a customer rubs him the wrong way. The cafe is the haunt of young Miki (Nebojsa Glogovac) and his vidcam-mad buddy, Toni (Dragan Jovanovic). In a movie theater bathroom, Miki meets Olga (Paulina Manov), a wild redhead whose revolutionary plan is to distribute free cocaine to the city. They immediately decide to get married, but as they are leaving the church Olga is hit in the forehead by a bullet.

An earnest cop, Inspector Butt (Petar Bozovic), investigates, without turning up the fact that Olga stole the coke from a young gangster, Stampedo (Nikola Djuricko), whose alcoholic mother bedded Bobbi the night before. All these characters and a few more come together in the Boomerang for a bang-up finale, making the point that Serbs are happiest when the chaos is complete.

Ristovski makes a solid center for pic’s fine ensemble cast, which sketches characters deliberately without depth or logic, the better to perform random and planned acts of violence unhampered by self-control. Pic is smoothly shot, and a comic music track by Rambo Amadeus and the Ethno Mutant Jazz Quartet keeps pace with the fast-moving editing.

Boomerang

Yugoslavia-Canada

Production

A Zillion, Vans Film (Yugoslavia)/Film Link (Canada) production. Produced by Bora Bulajic, Lazar Ristovski, Dejan Vrazalic. Directed by Dragan Marinkovic. Screenplay, Svetislav Basara.

Crew

Camera (color), Predrag Todorovic; editor, Marko Glusac; music, Rambo Amadeus, Ethno Mutant Jazz Quartet; production designer, Aleksandar Denic; costume designer, Nebojsa Lipanovic; sound (Dolby SRD), Nenad Vukadinovic. Reviewed on videocassette, Rome, Feb. 3, 2002. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Lazar Ristovski, Paulina Manov, Nebojsa Glogovac, Dragan Jovanovic, Petar Bozovic, Milena Dravic, Zoran Cvijanovic, Maja Sablijc, Nikola Djuricko, Vojin Cetkovic, Rambo Amadeus, Tijana Kondic.
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