Lead actress Julia Dietze is the sole reason to check out medieval laffer "1½ Knights: In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde," the fourth helming stint by German multihyphenate Til Schweiger.

Lead actress Julia Dietze is the sole reason to check out medieval laffer “1½ Knights: In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde,” the fourth helming stint by German multihyphenate Til Schweiger. As the feisty royal babe, Dietze, until now mostly seen on TV, shows a freshness and likable comic smarts that need only the right role to launch her as a young comedienne on the heels of Schweiger discovery Nora Tschirner (“Rabbit Without Ears”). Overlong misfire has taken a respectable but un- “Rabbit”-like $14 million in 11 weeks.

Though “Rabbit” and “Barefoot” confirmed Schweiger’s talent for romantic comedies, “Knights” shows he’s not at home with sendups; he has no feel for the necessary comic rhythms. Scrawny plot finds brave but terminally shy knight Lanze (Schweiger, dull) and Turkish wannabe knight Erdal (spoofmeister Rick Kavanian, with a funny accent) rescuing Herzelinde (Dietze), kidnapped by the evil Black Knight (Tobias Moretti). It’s mainly an excuse for guest-star cameos (Hannelore Elsner, Anna Maria Muehe), jokes about codpieces and chastity belts, and modern references (a medieval disco, doner kebabs). Realistic production design is flavorsome but gets in the way of an already lackluster script.

1½ Knights: In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde

Germany

Production

A Warner Bros. Germany release of a Warner Bros. Pictures Germany presentation of a Barefoot Films, Lionheart Prod., Seven Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany production. Produced by Til Schweiger, Thomas Zickler, Marian Redmann, Juergen Hebstreit. Co-producer, Stefan Gaertner. Directed by Til Schweiger. Co-directors, Torsten Kuenstler, Christof Wahl. Screenplay, Oliver Ziegenbalg, Oliver Philipp.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Wahl; editors, Charles Ladmiral, Olivia Retzer; music, Martin Todscharow, Dirk Reichardt, Stefan Hansen; art director, Christian Schaefer. Reviewed at CinemaxX, 18 Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Feb. 26, 2009. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

Til Schweiger, Rick Kavanian, Julia Dietze, Thomas Gottschalk, Udo Kier, Tobias Moretti, Ralph Herforth, Hannelore Elsner, Mark Keller, Anna Maria Muehe, Justus von Dohnanyi, Gregor Bloeb, Zora Holt, Roberto Blanco, Johannes Heesters, Dieter Hallervorden.
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