A narratively chaotic, tradition-drenched comedic meller about the importance of family, "Taming Crocodiles" doesn't have much bite. Undiscerning fests could chew on this, with the small screen a more likely candidate prior to being swallowed by homevid.

A narratively chaotic, tradition-drenched comedic meller about the importance of family, “Taming Crocodiles” doesn’t have much bite. Undiscerning fests could chew on this, with the small screen a more likely candidate prior to being swallowed by homevid.

Arriving home a month early from job on a mountain rescue team, Lubos (Miroslav Etzler) becomes separated from soon-to-retire ballet dancer wife Anna (Ingrid Timkova, from Jan Hrebejk’s “Up and Down”) by chaperoning 8-year-old daughter Amalka (Zofie Tesarova) on a class trip. Complications ensue in the verdant Czech countryside, but all’s well that end’s well. For her first film in 16 years, writer-helmer Marie Polednakova over-compensates for her absence by setting too many story strands in motion to gain much narrative traction. Pic resembles the kind of wholesome movies the helmer made under the old regime, such as “How to Pull Out a Whale’s Molar.” Acting kudos go to comic antics of vet Eva Holubova as long-suffering g.f. of eccentric horndog grandpa Pepik (Vaclav Postranecky). Amalka’s older brother is played by Jiri Madl, fresh from hot teen pics “Snowboarders” and “Rafters.” Tech credits are soothingly glossy.

Taming Crocodiles

Czech Republic

Production

A Falcon release (in the Czech Republic) of a Bio Illusion production, in association with TV Nova, RWE Transgas. (International sales: Nova World Sales, Prague.) Produced by Miloslav Smidmajer. Directed, written by Marie Polednakova, from her story.

Crew

Camera (color), Martin Duba; editor, Alois Fisarek; music, Petr Malasek; art director, Martin Vackar; costume designer, Vera Kocova. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, Australia, April 15, 2006. (In Finale Pilzen Film Festival -- non-competing.) Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Ingrid Timkova, Miroslav Etzler, Vaclav Postranecky, Jiri Madl, Tomas Pet, Zofie Tesarova, Eva Holubova.
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