×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zus & Zo

About as vigorous and intricate as a glossy romantic comedy can get without collapsing under the weight of its own merriment, "Zus & Zo" is a complicated confection in which three sisters scheme to prevent their gay brother from inheriting the seaside vacation home of their childhood.

With:
With: Sylvia Poorta, Anneke Blok, Monic Hendrickx, Jacob Derwig, Halina Reijn, Jaap Spijkers, Theu Boermans, Pieter Embrechts.

About as vigorous and intricate as a glossy romantic comedy can get without collapsing under the weight of its own merriment, “Zus & Zo” is a complicated confection in which three sisters scheme to prevent their gay brother from inheriting the seaside vacation home of their childhood. Convoluted plot aside, universally understandable feel-good nature of proceedings indicate action up and down the family tree, from fests to arthouses to cable to video.

Using Chekhov’s play about the trio of scheming siblings as a broad jumping-off point, pic sets up three very messy lives. Sometimes narrator Sonja (Monic Hendrickx) is a writer whose priapic husband, Hugo (Theu Boermans), perpetually worried about his health, is having an affair with Sonja’s sister, Wanda (Anneke Blok), an artist collecting sperm samples for an elaborately interactive exhibit. Eldest sister Michelle (Sylvia Poorta) yearns to escape her life with long-suffering husband Jan (Jaap Spijkers) and an assortment of multicultural adopted kids.

All three sisters see the answers to their prayers in the form of the spacious, spectacular seaside home of their childhood, an idyllic retreat north of Lisbon. But their convoluted machinations come screeching to a halt when their brother, Nino (Jacob Derwig), previously thought to have been involved with TV chef Felix Delicious (Pieter Embrechts), announces that he’s about to be married to the bubbly Bo (Halina Reijn) — thereby invoking a clause in their parents’ will that allows him to inherit the property.

Bulk of pic involves the various schemes hatched by the siblings against Nino, Bo and each other, culminating in a surprise wedding, a really surprising birth, and a not entirely unexpected surgical procedure.

With all these narrative balls in the air, helmer Paula van der Oest brings a whimsical vigor to her over-plotted script, tempering a madcap — if often overbearing — vibe with an ingratiating lustiness. Cast is enthusiastic if somewhat mannered, with Boermans stealing the show via a wide-eyed bundle of tics and twitches as the perpetually bewildered Hugo.

Tech credits are pro, with crisp lensing of d.p. Bert Pot (operator of the subjective camera in Robert Jan Westdijk’s distinctive 1996 thriller “Little Sister”) burnishing the overall gloss. Original Dutch title is pun on phrase “this and that” or “so-so,” as “zus” also means “sister.” Claiming “we never really found the one that does it,” shingle is currently sifting through some 400 suggested English lingo titles gathered via a write-in competish during recent Toronto fest.

Zus & Zo

The Netherlands

Production: An RCV Entertainment release (in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg) of a Filmprodukties De Luwte production. (International sales: Filmprodukties De Luwte, Amsterdam.) Produced by Jacqueline de Goeij. Executive producer, Annelies Meuleman. Written, directed by Paula van der Oest.

Crew: Camera (color), Bert Pot; editor, Sander Vos; music, Fons Merkies; production designer, Harry Ammerlaan; sound (Dolby Digital), Ben Zijlstra, Mark Glynne, Michel Schopping. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 15, 2001. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: With: Sylvia Poorta, Anneke Blok, Monic Hendrickx, Jacob Derwig, Halina Reijn, Jaap Spijkers, Theu Boermans, Pieter Embrechts.

More Film

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Taking Flight With $105 Million in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of $103.4 million for “The Hangover Part II.” The top total came in 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” [...]

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content