Review: ‘My Jealous Barber’

Set-up for quirky Norwegian comedy "My Jealous Barber" recalls undervalued Jim Carrey vehicle "The Cable Guy" by positing an ordinary schlemiel menaced by an over-intimate tradesman, in this case a scissor-wielding barber. But Nordic pic by first-time helmer Annette Sjursen is so determined to be feelgood, it fluffs chances for a more layered black comedy and ends up with split ends. Local auds affectionately ran fingers through pic's hair after domestic release last fall for reasonable B.O., but only other Scandie territories are likely to tussle its locks.

Set-up for quirky Norwegian comedy “My Jealous Barber” recalls undervalued Jim Carrey vehicle “The Cable Guy” by positing an ordinary schlemiel menaced by an over-intimate tradesman, in this case a scissor-wielding barber. But Nordic pic by first-time helmer Annette Sjursen is so determined to be feelgood, it fluffs chances for a more layered black comedy and ends up with split ends. Local auds affectionately ran fingers through pic’s hair after domestic release last fall for reasonable B.O., but only other Scandie territories are likely to tussle its locks.

Mousey-haired hospital orderly Bent (Gard B. Eidsvold, funny) has, for years, been seeing barber Frank (Bjorn Sundquist, good at understated creepiness), who has barely more than one other customer. Inspired by romantic yearnings for new neighbor Susie (Hildegun Riise), an aromatherapist with permanent long-term memory damage, Bent gets a trendy new trim at a local hairdresser’s, inciting the ire of Frank who’s already none-too-happy about the Susie situation. But just when things look poised to turn black, pic goes all soppy. Widescreen lensing by Philip Ogaard endows more gravitas than such slight material deserves. Rest of tech credits are just OK.

My Jealous Barber

Norway

Production

A Maipo Film & TV Prod. production with support of the Norwegian Film Fund. (International sales: Nordisk, Copenhagen.) Produced by Dag Alveberg. Directed by Annette Sjursen. Screenplay, Lars Saabye Christensen, Sjursen, based on a novel by Saabye Christensen.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Philip Ogaard; editors, Sophie Hesselberg, Wiebecke Ronseth; music, Stein B. Svendsen; set designer, Billy Johansson; costume designer, Bente Ulvik. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival (Nordic Event), Feb. 5, 2005. Original title: Min misunnelige frisor. Running time: 75 MIN.

With

Gard B. Eidsvold, Bjorn Sundquist, Hildegun Riise, Espen Skjonberg.
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