|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Approx. 98 min
|From 16 years
Wolfi (Hans-Jochen Wagner) turns 45! And the bon vivant wants to celebrate it properly. Therefore, he unceremoniously invites his childhood friends Viktor (Samuel Finzi), Ralph (Oliver Korittke) and Martin (Marc Hosemann) together with their wives and children to his pompous estate in Provence. And although they have not seen each other for years, the three accept this invitation. And as soon as they arrive, Wolfi makes it clear what to expect this weekend: a boisterous party with lots of alcohol, decadence and beautiful women. But enjoying the sun and champagne is soon over. For more than twenty years have passed since the wild days of their youth - years that have left their mark, destroyed dreams and buried old animosities - and here, in the deceptive idyll of Provence, all that threatens to explode. Chaos is bound to ensue.
Ten years after his cult film Black Sheep, Oliver Rhis once again presents a relentlessly crude, irreverent comedy with Monkey King, this time dealing with men in midlife crisis: sexual frustration, shattered dreams, financial problems or complete overload with marriage and children all come to light here and are dissected regardless of the consequences. Rhis himself admits that he likes to stretch the boundaries of good taste a bit in the process. And indeed, he sometimes goes a little too far with his very extreme humor. What seems extremely funny in some scenes because of the irreverence, unfortunately comes across too flat in other moments. Especially when events get completely out of hand towards the end, the production also threatens to become an overly raunchy mess.
There are, however, scenes in which men over 40 are held up a mirror in a very amusing way. The way their dealings with forgotten longings and everyday frustration are exposed is evidence of the director's good powers of observation. The fact that his ensemble of actors transports this to the screen beyond all bounds of shame should also be commended. With a little more restraint and more subtle gags, Monkey King could have become Oliver Rhis' next cult comedy, especially because of these moments. As it is, however, the whole thing is unfortunately a somewhat half-baked work whose good ideas are buried under too many obscenities.
What works really well is the attempt to use the beauty of Provence as a contrast to the ugliness of the characters' inner lives. It's a shame that this good concept is too often handled with a sledgehammer, which wouldn't have been necessary at all to clarify the core of the story. Therefore: If you liked the humor of Black Sheep and generally don't mind if it goes mercilessly below the belt sometimes, you could definitely have fun here. But if you like it a little more subtle, you will probably not like this crude claptrap. For this there is then also only one: Worth seeing with restrictions!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp