Review: ‘The Assistant’

A film geek-cum-wannabe director gets tangled up with the local mafia in "The Assistant," a far too loose and unstructured comedy to have much of a career beyond Central European sales. But, it's an undemanding watch, free of pratfall humor, with a likable central perf by Vasil Vasiliev-Zueka as the eponymous anti-hero.

A film geek-cum-wannabe director gets tangled up with the local mafia in “The Assistant,” a far too loose and unstructured comedy to have much of a career beyond Central European sales. But, it’s an undemanding watch, free of pratfall humor, with a likable central perf by Vasil Vasiliev-Zueka as the eponymous anti-hero.

Thesp plays Pavel Pavlov, a film nerd who fancies himself a lady-killer but who actually lives with his musician wife, young son, sister and in-laws. In-between studying to be a pilot and videotaping weddings, he claims to be a “film director” and has sold his own family’s house — dumping his mother in an old people’s home — to raise coin for his first feature. When the bank Pavel put all his savings in goes bust, he finds the mafia on his tail for money he borrowed — a situation he uses his vidcam skills to get out of. Tech credits are so-so, with color processing below Bulgaria’s usual quality levels on print caught.

The Assistant

Bulgaria-Italy

Production

A BG-Kostovstudio, Bulgarian National Television (Bulgaria)/Interfilm, Movie Machine (Italy) production. (International sales: BG-Kostovstudio, Sofia, Bulgaria.) Produced, directed, written by Iliya Kostov.

Crew

Camera (color), Taroslav Yachev; editor, Albena Katerinska; music, Stefan Dimitrov; art director, Boris Neshev. Reviewed at Sofia Film Festival, Bulgaria, March 15, 2003. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Vasil Vasilev-Zueka, Paraskeva Dzhukelova, Nikolay Sotirov, Elena Kuneva, Lyudmila Cheshmedzhieva.
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