Review: ‘Maria, He Doesn’t Like It!’

The blow-and-throw pic piles the cultural cliches high, especially early on.

Germans’ long love affair with those crazy, colorful Italians down south continues with “Maria, He Doesn’t Like It!” a kind of “Big Fat Italo-Teuton Wedding.” Based on an autobiographical bestseller by Jan Weiler, the blow-and-throw pic piles the cultural cliches high, especially early on, but partly redeems itself with hard-to-dislike perfs and an honest view of both sides’ national quirks. August release has grossed a tasty $6 million so far in Deutschland. Offshore potential is slim.

Jan (Christian Ulmen, dopily amusing) has unwillingly agreed to marry his German-Italian fiancee, Maria (Mina Tander, underused), in Campobello, the home village of her Italian-born father, Antonio (Lino Banfi, in full Latin mode). Once there, the culture shock is too great for the pale-skinned Jan, who, along with Antonio’s German wife (Maren Kroymann), finally explodes on his wedding eve. Jokes expectedly contrast German logic and Italian illogic, but dankly colored flashbacks to young Antonio (Leonardo Nigro) leading a tough life in ’60s Germany give the second half a deeper emotional heft. Plot lacks any suspense, but tech package is smooth, with pretty lensing of Apulia and loads of jolly music.

Maria, He Doesn't Like It!

Germany

Production

A Constantin Film Verleih release of a Claussen+Woebke+Putz Filmproduktion production, in association with Schubert Intl. Filmproduktion, Orisa Produzioni, ZDF, Constantin Film. (International sales: the Match Factory, Cologne.) Produced by Jakob Claussen, Uli Putz, Cristiano Bortone. Co-producers, Lothar Schubert, Martin Moszkowicz. Directed by Neele Leana Vollmar. Screenplay, Daniel Speck, Jan Weiler, based on Weiler's novel.

Crew

Camera (color), Torsten Breuer; editor, Bernd Schlegel; music, Niki Reiser; production designer, Doerthe Komnick, Johannes Sternagel; costume designer, Caroline Sattler. Reviewed at Kino in der KulturBrauerei 5, Berlin, Aug. 26, 2009. Original title: Maria, ihm schmeckt's nicht! German, Italian dialogue. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Lino Banfi, Christian Ulmen, Mina Tander, Maren Kroymann, Gundi Ellert, Peter Prager, Paolo De Vita, Ludovica Modugno, Lucia Guzzardi, Nino Bellomo, Leonardo Nigro, Pierluigi Ferrandini, Sergio Rubini, Marleen Lohse, Enzo Salomone, Massimo Sarchielli, Nicola Nocella.

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