|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Direction:||Jan Ole Gerster|
|Production country:||Deutschland 2012|
|Running time:||Approx. 85 min.|
Niko's (Tom Schilling) life seems to have reached a turning point. His girlfriend has left him, he has dropped out of his studies, whereupon his father (Ulrich Noethen) cuts him off. He's also lost his driver's license and can't seem to get a cup of normal coffee anywhere in town. And since he doesn't quite know where to go in all this chaos, he has no choice but to live in the day and observe in order to perhaps find his place in life. Whether it's his new neighbor (Justus von Dohnanyi), who performs a real soul striptease in front of him while eating meatballs that his wife has made for Niko to move in, or his old school friend Julika (Friederike Kempter), who hasn't quite overcome her psychological problems from the past as well as she herself believes, they all accompany Niko on his odyssey through the city, through this day and through his life. But will everything really be different the next morning and will he actually have the epiphany of how to go on in his life?
With Oh Boy, Jan Ole Gerster presents a wonderful big city comedy that is reminiscent of the early work of Woody Allen, not only because of its black and white visuals and musical score, but also because of its clever wordplay and occasionally very dry humor in its best moments. Tom Schilling is simply wonderful as Niko, who goes through his day a bit screwy and encounters many much more screwy and broken characters in his desperate search for a cup of coffee. This is partly due to his very natural and relaxed acting, but also due to the wonderful dialogues that Gerster has written for him and the other characters.
While something like a stringent plot can be discerned, the film still seems rather episodic in an effective way. So Niko can meet numerous characters in many different situations, which can be picked up again later, but this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Thus, at the end there isn't the feeling that some plot thread wasn't resolved or that the movie feels too overloaded. Even though the single stages of Niko's day work perfectly on their own and often seem rather incoherent, a closer look reveals how excellently the film is constructed. The individual set pieces of the story are cleverly built on top of each other, and many of the film's best punchlines are very carefully prepared, which is why they can work really well.
In addition to very funny moments, such as Niko's visit to the set of a highly dramatic World War II drama, there are also some quieter moments, though these are especially prevalent in the final third. This is also where the film's only problem lies. The final episode between Niko and an older gentleman, wonderfully played by Michael Gwisek, is not only a bit too long, but its melancholic tone doesn't quite fit into the rather light events that have dominated the film until then. It's true that this scene, like the rest of Oh Boy, is a beautifully observed depiction of the bizarreness of real life. Still, it just doesn't want to fit into the overall picture as harmoniously as the previous scenes did.
However, even though it drags you down a bit at the end after many wonderful moments and extremely good laughs, Oh Boy leaves a very positive impression on balance. It is a very original, excellently written and very well acted big city comedy that shows that even in Germany sophisticated cinema can not always be presented with melancholy, but also sometimes with casual irony and clever wit. Absolutely worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp