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Foreign Comedy - Germany - Go For Zucker - German Comedy

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Go For Zucker
Henry Hubschen, Hannelore Elsner, Udo Samel
Directed by Dani Levy
German with English subtitles
XFilme Production 2005
First Run Features 2006

Go For Zucker is an absolutely charming, funny, and unusual German comedy DVD (no, that is not an oxymoron) distributed by First Run Features, a company that specializes in independent and foreign movies. Go For Zucker stars Henry Hubschen as Jaeckie Zucker a pool-playing smooth talking (his name is Jacky Sugar, you know) con of sorts whose personal life is a disaster until salvation seems to come in the form of his mother's last will and testament. The comedy in this independent German comedy DVD lies in the steps Jackie Zucker is willing to take to get his inheritance.

This German comedy was a hit when first released in Germany and, watching Go For Zucker, it is no wonder. It is said to be the first comedy made in Germany about Jewish people and Jewish life so that must be a good thing but what makes this comedy DVD so much fun is it is simply a very funny, universal kind of movie where the characters and the story will appeal to most viewers. Jackie Zucker's mother last will and testament is that to inherit all her stocks and bonds he and his estranged brother Samuel must sit Shiva (seven days of mourning), publicly say why they became estranged, and publicly reconcile. If they succeed, they get the inheritance, if not, the Jewish relief fund gets it.

The problem is Jackie and Samuel were separated more than forty years ago when the Berlin wall went up and haven't spoken since. Jackie is as far removed from his Jewish roots as possible. As his sister-in-law says to her husband, "Your brother's family is as kosher as a pork chop." The other problem is the family shows up late for the funeral so it has to be postponed one day and the next day is also the day of the big pool championship where Jackie hopes to win the 100,000 Euro first prize that will solve all of his many financial troubles. These are only some of the comic elements of Go For Zucker as you quickly discover both families have some real issues to deal with.

Director Dani Levy, who also co-wrote the script, has made a fun little comedy that is both unpretentious and yet full of social and historical metaphors. For example, it is fairly obvious the reconciliation of the brothers is a parallel to the reconciliation of East and West Germany. However, Levy has managed not to hit anybody over the head with any agenda and has chosen to let the viewer enjoy these comic characters and situations and this very good German comedy, now available on DVD, without having to think too much about what it all means. Go For Zucker is thus a fun little movie that lets itself be enjoyed and this is a good thing because although there is a certain broad farce element here a lot of the humor is rather subtle at times (such as when the sisters in laws are at the synagogue and one turns the other's Torah around because she was holding it upside down).

Not everybody likes subtitled movies but the fact Go For Zucker is in the original German with English subtitles should not turn off anyone who enjoys foreign and different comedy DVDs. The subtitling here is first class and this German comedy is good enough you do not have to read everything to understand that Jackie is faking yet another heart attack to get himself out of trouble.



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