“Percy, Buffalo Bill & Me” is a neatly scripted, well-cast adaptation of Ulf Stark’s popular semi-autobiographical look back at a Swedish baby-boomer’s childhood summer. Cross-generational comedy achieves a fine balance between funny and bittersweet when the “me” of the title can’t prevent his irrepressible pal from usurping the attention of family members and the girl he fancies. Kidfests, in particular, will find this a quality item.
Pic never overemphasizes that it’s set several decades back: only the fact that grandpa met the real Buffalo Bill Cody is a giveaway. This approach frees up non-Scandi viewers to enjoy the timeless rivalries and pre-coming-of-age adventures of the appealing youths.
Handsome extrovert Percy (Daniel Bragderyd) and more awkward Ulf (Hampus Nystrom), the narrator, seal their friendship as blood brothers at pic’s outset. Ulf’s family vacations with his grandparents on an island off the coast of Sweden. When Percy invites himself along, Ulf is too polite to say no.
Grandpa (towering vet Borje Ahlstedt) passes prodigious amounts of gas in his sleep and seems bitter when awake. Bear of a man suffers from loving his wife more than she’s prepared to reciprocate. But Grandpa is inspired by straight-talking Percy to reveal secrets he never shared with his own grandson, especially those involving Buffalo Bill.
Ulf is more dismayed when Percy is a hit with Pia (Felice Jankell), the cute girl who helps out at her family’s snack stand. About the only thing Percy can’t do — or get away with faking — is swimming. For this and other reasons, the summer will prove memorable.
Production design is pro and thesps are enjoyable across the board. Although the tale is told from young Ulf’s p.o.v., film has narrative elements that will interest viewers of all ages.