Rightwing Film Geek

I’m Your Man

I’M YOUR MAN (Maria Schrader, Germany, 2021) 6

The last couple of scenes are so brilliantly done, so wise (this is not HER) and so understated, and the first scene so slyly suggestive as the date goes off the rails that I really don’t trust my “meh” reaction to the intervening 95 minutes.

Had the film ended with Dan Stevens’ departure, I’d’ve been debating between 4 and 5, partially because so much of I’M YOUR MAN wasn’t terribly funny to me. It was fitfully amusing, always genial, and had nothing cringeworthy, sure. I probably went in with the wrong expectations, expecting the film to be more of a farce than it is because the premise — human-like robots tailored to be the perfect mate — is so absurd. I kept thinking of MORK AND MINDY but with Dan Stevens rather than Robin Williams. That’s not a good thing.

How much is a specific byproduct of his speaking German (I admit I did love the excuse for a British accent so pronounced even I could hear it) is something I can’t say, but Stevens’ performance is definitely somewhat awkward and that’s exactly right for a robot (hard not to think of STARMAN also). Sandra Huller is equally awkward, albeit in that chipper human-resources manager way, and that becomes brilliant. Maren Eggert has the hardest role, playing a skeptic of the whole premise of the product and a normal effed-up person with contradictory desires in a post-modern hall of mirrors. She even pulls off a speech about being in a play in which she’s both performer and audience.

I know it’s unfair to compare a “German comedy” to a “German comedy” from five years ago (they all look alike) even if they both feature Sandra Huller. But there was just nothing here as uproariously memorable as “The Greatest Love of All” or petit-fours. “I’m Your Man” plays more in the dramedy vein, with much of the humor wry (first line I wrote down was “I detect a reaction to my correct use of the subjunctive”) and minor-key, like the unexpected reunion with the chubby old man from the first scene. And those last two scenes, one a lengthy narrated monolog, the other a trip to Denmark, work so well because … talking vaguely … they’re really about how the film’s absurd premise relates to something not-absurd romantic longing and the existence of the custom-designed perfect mate.

September 27, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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