Olaf Lubaszenko directed and stars in this engaging comedy/drama about underworld types interacting with academia. Story has similarities to “Born Yesterday,” but gains different nuances in contempo Polish setting. A charismatic perf from top-billed Cezary Pazura may attract notice. Pic likely won’t gain theatrical exposure, but should satisfy on cable.
Lubaszenko plays shabby, impecunious Max, a university professor who makes ends meet by anonymously writing dissertations for lazy students. When va-va-voom girl Stella (Agnieszka Wlodarczyk) hires him to finish hers, he coaches her in person, attracting the attention of her jealous gangster b.f. Ramzes (Cezary Pazura). Once Ramzes decides Max poses no romantic threat, his own intellectual ambitions are awakened and he demands Max prep him to get a Ph.D. As the men spend more time together, an uneasy bond develops, with Max going a bit native as Ramzes gets more cultivated. So devoted is Ramzes to his work, he starts ignoring Stella, inadvertently pushing her toward Max. Lubaszenko and cast manage to make the often implausible character shifts convincing, and the eccentric background players are amusing. Tech credits are competent, including one or two brief but flashy action scenes.