A by-the-numbers ensemble dramedy that hits every underdog and gay-fish-out-of-water cliche on the nose, German "Guys and Balls" is so derivative it might as well be called "Bend Over, Beckham." Released last fall in German-speaking Europe, it's tentatively skedded for fall U.S. theatrical tour.

A by-the-numbers ensemble dramedy that hits every underdog and gay-fish-out-of-water cliche on the nose, German “Guys and Balls” is so derivative it might as well be called “Bend Over, Beckham.” Though helmer Sherry Hormann pushes the right crowd-pleasing buttons in slickly handled item, TV-bred scribe Benedikt Gollhardt’s first bigscreen script may pander too blatantly for pic to get the good reviews needed to lure auds offshore. Released last fall in German-speaking Europe, it’s tentatively skedded for fall U.S. theatrical tour.

Already blamed unfairly for losing a championship game in his soccer-mad, conservative small town, gifted goalie and baker’s son Eckie (Maximilian Brueckner) is kicked out totally when fellow players find him drunkenly kissing another teammate. He vows to return in a month and kick their butts with an all-gay team. But now he must assemble one. Staying with Susanne (Lisa Maria Potthoff), he recruits the usual band of stereotyped “misfits,” most amusing being a domestic menage a trois of leather men. Needless to say, their lack of experience and fitness does not prevent climactic triumph. Pacey, good-looking pic does score some laughs, but feels created by committee.

Guys and Balls

Germany

Production

A here! Films, Regent Releasing release of a Hager Moss Film production in association with Medienfonds, GmbH & Co., and Buena Vista Intl. Produced by Kirsten Hager, Eric Moss, Andreas Schneppe. Co-producers, David Groenwold, Peter Studhalter, Eva Poetsch, Andrea Kluver. Directed by Sherry Hormann. Screenplay, Benedikt Gollhardt.

Crew

Camera (color), Hanno Lentz; editor, Eva Schnare; music, Martin Todsharow; production designer, Thomas Freudenthal. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 21, 2005. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Maximilian Brueckner, Lisa Maria Potthoff, Dietmar Baer, Saskia Vester, Rolf Zacher, Mariele Millowitsch, David Rott, Christian Berkel, Charly Hubner, Markus John, Andreas Schmidt, Hans Lowe.
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