Review: ‘Schnitzel Paradise’

Domestic Dutch comedy hit "Schnitzel Paradise" is a multiculti romance wrapped in a workplace laffer involving a sizeable United Nations of undocumented and unpaid kitchen staff. Buoyant entry from arthouse helmer Martin Koolhoven continues benevolent "Can't we all just get along?" vibe of 2004 B.O. champ "Shouf Shouf Habibi!" ("Hush, Hush, Baby!"), but is more geared for regional play than international travel.

Domestic Dutch comedy hit “Schnitzel Paradise” is a multiculti romance wrapped in a workplace laffer involving a sizeable United Nations of undocumented and unpaid kitchen staff. Buoyant entry from arthouse helmer Martin Koolhoven continues benevolent “Can’t we all just get along?” vibe of 2004 B.O. champ “Shouf Shouf Habibi!” (“Hush, Hush, Baby!”), but is more geared for regional play than international travel.

Hunky Moroccan nice guy Nordip (Benjamin Bratt lookalike Mounir Valentyn) tells trad dad he works in a library but actually washes dishes. Tender love affair with boss’s niece Agnes (Bracha van Doesburgh) threatens harmony with a gaggle of eccentric co-workers including sassy busboy Amimoun (“Hush, Hush, Baby!” star Mimoun Oaissa). Good-natured hijinx sprint to a close in a trim 77 minutes, followed by five minutes of outtakes. Tech credits are pro down the line, beginning with Guido van Gennep’s smooth camerawork and the intrepid production design of Floris Vos. Pic made more coin in its first week than all three of Koolhoven’s recent, well-reviewed dramas combined. Near constant musical theme has the same herky-jerky riff as “I Put a Spell on You.”

Schnitzel Paradise

Netherlands

Production

An Independent Films, Universal Pictures Benelux, Lemming Film, NPS Televisie presentation of a Lemming Film production. (International sales: MDC Intl., Berlin.) Produced by Leontine Petit, Joost de Vries. Directed by Martin Koolhoven. Screenplay, Marco van Geffen, from the book by Khalid Boudou.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Guido van Gennep; editor, Job ter Burg; music, Wiegel/Meirmans/Snitker; production designer, Floris Vos; costume designer, Maart je Wevers. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Kinderfilmfest/14plus), Feb. 11, 2006. Original title: Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Mounir Valentyn, Bracha van Doesburgh, Mimoun Oaissa, Yahya Gaier, Frank Lammers, Micha Hulshof, Sabri Saad el Hamus, Mohammed Chaara, Gurkan Kucuksenturk, Tygo Gernandt, Sanne Vogel, Linda van Dyck, Ruben van der Meer.
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