The Wedding Cow

Title character may get most of the flattering close-ups, but the two human leads are even more engaging in Tomi Streiff's "The Wedding Cow." At its frequent best, this sweetly whimsical German road movie comes off as a screwball comedy played at half-speed, filled with straight-talking average folks instead of quick-quipping free spirits. If a savvy U.S. distrib can figure out where to let this potential sleeper graze, pic might milk some respectable coin from arthouse regulars and venturesome mainstream ticketbuyers.

Title character may get most of the flattering close-ups, but the two human leads are even more engaging in Tomi Streiff’s “The Wedding Cow.” At its frequent best, this sweetly whimsical German road movie comes off as a screwball comedy played at half-speed, filled with straight-talking average folks instead of quick-quipping free spirits. If a savvy U.S. distrib can figure out where to let this potential sleeper graze, pic might milk some respectable coin from arthouse regulars and venturesome mainstream ticketbuyers.

Smoothly directing from a script he co-wrote with Ela Thier, Streiff introduces Flora (Isabella Parkinson) as a small-town librarian who’s traveling to her new job in a far-off hamlet. Ingenuous to a fault, Flora is easily tricked out of her money by a slick con man and forced to hitchhike. Fortuitously, she gets a lift from Tim (Oliver Reinhard), a teddy-bearish plumber who’s driving his small truck back to his Black Forest home. Tim is supposed to get married in a few days — Hannah, the scene-stealing cow in the back of his vehicle, is a wedding present — but has second thoughts after a few picaresque adventures with Flora.

The Wedding Cow

(GERMANY)

Production: A Sudwestrundfunk production in association with FSDRS and ARTE. (International sales: Streiffschuss Films AG.) Produced by Susan Schultz. Executive producer, Carl Bergengruen. Directed by Tomi Streiff. Screenplay, Ela Thier, Streiff. Camera (color), Johannes Hollmann; editor, Roswitha Gnadig; music, Oliver Kuka, Holger Nesweda; production designer, Jorg Hohn; costume designer, Jurgen Knoll. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, March 18, 2000. (At SXSW Film Festival, World/Fest Houston Film Festival.) Original title: Die Hochzeitskuh. Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Isabella Parkinson, Oliver Reinhard, Hannah the Cow, Dani Levy, Maria Schrader, Julia Stohl-Palmer.

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