Hombres Complicados

The complicated guys of "Hombres Complicados" are two siblings who share little more than a blood line. Brought together by the death of their mother, they embark on a journey and, against all odds, bond. Though the film's material suggests flashes of a humorous, compelling story, it's ultimately no more than a strong idea unevenly executed. It's strictly fest circuit stuff with spotty specialized prospects in a handful of upscale markets. Bruno (Jose de Pauw) is the good brother; studious, mama's favorite, and a solid family man. Roger (Dirk Roofthooft) sports loud clothes, a vulgar girlfriend and a bad rock-star toupee. He's in serious hock to mobsters when news comes of his mother's death.

With:
Roger ..... Dirk Roofthooft Bruno ..... Jose de Pauw Simone ..... Hilde van Mieghem Doriane ..... Lies Pauwels Eva ..... Johanne Saunier Erikje ..... Otto Carpentier Aldo ..... Hugues Hausman Remo ..... Harry Cleven M. Lucien ..... Francois Beukelaers Mother Declerq ..... Gert Portael (Flemish and French dialogue)

Buoyed by the prospect of a small inheritance, Roger must quickly come up with an alternative plan when Mom’s will reveals she’d sold most of her assets for health and upkeep. He proposes to Bruno going on vacation with their significant others using the small bit of loot Mom left behind. He concocts a twisted logic about how seeing them together would fulfill her dying wish, and Bruno foolishly grabs the bait.

Trying to put some physical distance between himself and his creditors, Roger leads the way on a provincial road tour. Flemish filmmaker Dominique Deruddere provides a more adult spin on a “National Lampoon’s Vacation” that’s populated with kinky sex, surrealism and dead bodies. However, it’s more banal than bizarre, with lame jokes, hapless and convenient plot twists, and performances that generally are shrill.

Technically polished, modest production has the germ of a very intriguing idea with rich dramatic and comic potential. But Deruddere repeatedly loses focus, opting to dwell on subplots and soft-centered homilies that cut against the grain of the film’s livelier, outrageous concerns.

Hombres Complicados

(Belgian)

Production: A Fonds Film in Vlaanderen presentation. Produced by Dominique Deruddere, Loret Meus. Directed by Dominique Deruddere. Screenplay, Deruddere, Marc Didden.

Crew: Camera (color), Willy Stassen; editor, Ludo Troch; music, Arno Hintjens; production design, Hubert Pouille; costume design, Loret Meus; sound, Alex Goosse; assistant director, Frank Devos. Reviewed at AFI/L.A. Film Festival (competing), Oct. 30, 1997. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: Roger ..... Dirk Roofthooft Bruno ..... Jose de Pauw Simone ..... Hilde van Mieghem Doriane ..... Lies Pauwels Eva ..... Johanne Saunier Erikje ..... Otto Carpentier Aldo ..... Hugues Hausman Remo ..... Harry Cleven M. Lucien ..... Francois Beukelaers Mother Declerq ..... Gert Portael (Flemish and French dialogue)

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