Unwelcome intrusions

As a striving, dynamic young career woman, the last thing you would want is for your oddball father to turn up at your office pretending to be a colleague.  Of course, Ines (Sandra Huller) has been coping her whole life with a dad whose idea of funny is a set of novelty teeth. 

 

TONI ERDMANN

Director: Maren Ade
Cast: Sandra Huller, Peter Simonischek, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Putter, Ingrid Bisu
Rating: (R16) 
Two stars (out of five)

 

When her father, Winfried (Peter Simonischek), comes up with an alter ego called Toni Erdmann and uses him to gain access to her business life, the big surprise is that she goes along with it.

The film Toni Erdmann (Rialto) follows a mad week of scrimmages between the two as Winfried/Toni probes his daughter’s professional surface looking for traces of the child he used to know.

Ines is not pleased with his antics but instead of calling security, she plays along.

While this is billed as a comedy, I found it more perverse than amusing and, unfortunately, the bad teeth and ludicrous wig of Toni Erdmann reminded me of Barry Humphries’ lecherous Sir Les Patterson rather than the intended misguided dad.

At a little over two and a-half hours you spend a lot of time pondering why Ines and Winfried act the way they do, but by the end I had decided all I really wanted was for them to go away.  However, this movie has been favourably received and in the ultimate American compliment it has been announced that Hollywood is going to do a remake with Jack Nicholson in the title role, which makes sense, as I was reminded of About Schmidt — another film I did not like much.

- Christine Powley

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