Reviewed at Vienna Film Festival, Oct. 20, 1994. Running time: 90 MIN.
Eva … Michaela Kuklova
Christian … Gregor Bloeb
Liane … Nina Franoszek
Adamec … Jiri Menzel
Pavel … Jan Novotny
Harada … Tad Horino
A bright, well-made comedy on East European cross-border business, “Joint Venture” is a clever and entertaining update of
commedia dell’arte characters and plot complications with just enough twists to keep auds engrossed. Pic is itself a joint venture of Austrian and Czech actors and locations, and looks set to move offshore into limited venues.
Eva (Michaela Kuklova), a hotel bar dancer, agrees to marry Harada (Tad Horino), an octogenarian Japanese businessman with a teenager’s sex drive, and act as his front to acquire real estate in Prague. When Harada collapses from over-stimulation, Eva is left without a meal ticket. She cajoles a more desirable young Austrian, Christian (Gregor Bloeb), into taking Harada’s place at the altar.
Christian, who’s been sent toPrague by his business partner/lover Liane (Nina Franoszek) to buy the same property, spots an opportunity. But the adorable Eva follows him back to Vienna, where a farcical menage a trois ensues. When Harada’s associates show up, the entire cast ends up in a bidding war that pits Eva against her equally penniless ex-husband (Jan Novotny).
The movie clips along at a bright pace, and Kuklova is spunky and enchanting as Eva. Vet Czech helmer Jiri Menzel pops up in a supporting role as a Prague gangster. Tech credits are fine.