×

Film Review: ‘Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman’

An ever-inebriated small-town daredevil stumbles into the big time in Dutch comedy duo Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil's latest.

Director:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5637542/
With:
Tim Haars, Bo Maerten, Henry Van Loon, Michiel Romeyn, Waldemar Torenstra, Chris Zegers, Dennie Christian, Maartje van de Wetering, Hanna van Vliet, Roy Reymound, Huub Smit, Pieter Bouwman, Ad van Kempen, Ilse Warringa, Medina Schuuman.

Official Site: http://Steffen%20Haars,%20Flip%20van%20der%20Kuil

The comedy of pathetic loserdom gets a new antihero in “Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman.” A trifle thin but very funny nonetheless, this latest from the Dutch duo of Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil (of hit tube-to-cinema series “New Kids” as well as feature “Bro’s Before Ho’s”) is packed with local pop cultural references that won’t mean much to offshore audiences. Yet foreigners, especially those susceptible to off-kilter yet accessible humor in the general “Napoleon Dynamite” realm, will still find plenty to enjoy in this brightly produced tale of one very dim, alcoholic, blithely self-destructive amateur daredevil.

We first meet Ron Goossens (the writer-directors’ ongoing collaborator Tim Haars) in a moment of characteristic peril: blind-drunk, about to perform some ridiculously dangerous stunt just for the hell of it. He barely survives this one, which involves driving a car across an open drawbridge. After an explosion, personally catching fire, then reeling into the canal to quell the flames, unemployed 40-ish Ron emerges sodden to insouciantly slur, “I’m like totally shitfaced.”

That becomes a national catchphrase when someone posts a video of the “Jackass”-style hijink online. But overnight fame barely impacts our feckless protagonist, who has more important things to worry about — like his inevitable hangover, and being banned from the local pub (for failing to pay his tab rather than habitual drunkenness). Yea more pressing is the crisis that ensues when he discovers wife Angela (Maartje van de Wetering) shagging a drinking buddy in their own bed. Worse, it seems she’s shagged half the town. Worse still, she’s pregnant but plans to abort, and also to leave Ron, all thanks to his chronic, libido-impairing booze hounding.

This news does manage to penetrate Ron’s perpetual haze. Offering to do anything (short of sobriety) to win Angela back, he’s rather arbitrarily tasked with seducing celebrity sexpot Bo Maerten to prove he has some mojo left. Conveniently, his YouTube notoriety brings a showbiz offer from agent Berrie (Michiel Romeyn), who figures the podunk Evel Knievel’s complete disregard for grievous bodily harm makes him the perfect “low-budget stuntman” for a cash-strapped Dutch film industry happy to cut costs in any realm, including safety.

Soon he’s shooting Bo’s new vehicle “Straight Outta Alphen,” and awkwardly attempting to ingratiate himself with the repelled actress. Not only is she a teetotaler, she’s already involved with co-star Waldemar Torenstra. Ron and best bud Peter (Henry van Loon) manage to gain some traction with Bo by slipping her veteran popular hunky boyfriend a dose of GHB, prompting some highly objectionable behavior. But it takes yet another near-fatal stunt for Ron to get a grip on what he really wants.

“Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman” barely makes it to the 70-minute mark before commencing a lengthy closing-credits sequence punctuated by further gags. The sense of a somewhat curtailed narrative arc underlines Haars and van der Kuil’s background in skit comedy — and recalls the Lonely Island gang’s 2007 comedy “Hot Rod.” This feels like a protracted sketch that should’ve been filled out a bit further. (It also ought to have jettisoned some overly crass jokes, particularly a current of racial humor that’s no less irksome for being semi-ironical.)

Still, much of what’s here is inspired goofiness, mixing the genially rude with plenty of mockery at the expense of the country’s character and institutions. Maerten and Torenstra are just the most prominent personalities who gamely send themselves up here; longtime pop crooner Dennie Christian is deployed as a sort of kitschy Greek chorus in music video-style sequences. Topped by Tim Haars’ stoically dense lead, the comic character turns (most played by thesps who’ve often worked with the creators) are sharp.

Typically, comedy is the genre that too frequently skimps on aesthetic care, so it’s a pleasure to see how well-thought-out this exercise is in overall packaging terms, from handsome, colorful visual design contributions to the mock-heroic spaghetti western strains of Sizzer Amsterdam’s original score.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman'

Reviewed online, July 29, 2017. (In Fantasia Film Festival.) Running time: 79 MIN.

Production: (Netherlands) A Kaap Holland Film production, in association with Entertainment One Benelux, Steffen & Flip. (International sales: Dutch Features, Zandvoort, Netherlands.) Producer: Maarten Swart. Co-producers: Sander Emmering, Wilco Wolfers, Steffen Haars, Flip van Der Kuil.

Crew: Director, writer: Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Joris Kerbosch. Editor: van der Kuil. Music: Sizzer Amsterdam.

With: Tim Haars, Bo Maerten, Henry Van Loon, Michiel Romeyn, Waldemar Torenstra, Chris Zegers, Dennie Christian, Maartje van de Wetering, Hanna van Vliet, Roy Reymound, Huub Smit, Pieter Bouwman, Ad van Kempen, Ilse Warringa, Medina Schuuman.

More Film

  • Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power,

    Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power, Responsibility of Cinema to ‘Provoke’

    Gael García Bernal said acting for the likes of Oscar winners Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón helped groom him for the director’s chair and praised cinema as “the only medium” that allows artists to “explore the gray areas” in unparalleled ways. “The world is so full of certainties now, and cinema is the one that [...]

  • Gareth Jones

    Samuel Goldwyn Films Takes North American Rights to Berlin Competition Title 'Mr Jones'

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights on Agnieska Holland’s “Mr. Jones,” it announced Thursday. The period thriller debuted in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Set on the eve of the Second World War, “Mr. Jones” stars James Norton as the eponymous character, an ambitious young journalist who travels to Moscow [...]

  • Live Action Mulan

    China Uses Disney's 'Mulan' to Attack Hong Kong Protests

    Although Twitter and Facebook have taken steps to stop what they say is a Chinese state-backed misinformation campaign about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, similar content from suspicious accounts continues to proliferate widely, some of it co-opting Disney‘s new “Mulan“ to try to discredit the demonstrators. At the same time, China‘s government-controlled media are [...]

  • PACIFIED

    San Sebastian Adds Alice Winocour, Malgorzata Szumowska, Sarah Gavron to Main Comp

    The Darren Aronofsky-produced Brazilian title “Pacified,” by American director Paxton Winters, Alice Winocour’s French-German astronaut drama “Proxima” and Polish film director Małgorzata Szumowska’s religious thriller “The Other Lamb” are among the six final competition selections for September’s 67th San Sebastian Film Festival. Also vying for San Sebastian’s Golden Shell will be U.K. drama “Rocks,” from [...]

  • Jamile Wenske

    Jamila Wenske Leaves One Two Films to Head Achtung Panda! in Berlin

    German producer Jamila Wenske has left One Two Films to head Achtung Panda!, a Berlin-based film production company. Wenske succeeds former managing director Helge Albers, who left Achtung Panda! to become the new CEO of regional funder Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. Wenske partnered with Sol Bondy and Christoph Lange to launch One Two Films in 2010. [...]

  • Tuva-Novotny

    Tuva Novotny Questions Monogamy in 'Diorama' Pic (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Actress-turned-helmer Tuva Novotny thrives on big challenges. Her feature debut “Blindspot,” Norway’s entry for the 2019 Nordic Council Prize, was shot in real-time in one take and illuminates mental health issues. Her sophomore mainstream Swedish pic “Britt Marie Was Here” –slated for a Sept. 20 U.S. release via Cohen Media Group –  [...]

  • Seizure

    Writer Megan Gallagher On Her Viaplay Supernatural Nordic-Noir 'Seizure'

    With outposts in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, Miso Film has become one of the most influential film and TV outfits in Scandinavia. On August 19, the company’s Norwegian arm lifted the curtain on its series venture, the supernatural police drama “Seizure” by premiering the show’s first two episodes at the Haugesund Film Festival ahead of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content