Monday, July 26, 2010

Fantasia 2010: Fatso (2008)

This is the ninth film review in the coverage of this year's Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. If you expect to see a dumb comedy, Arild Fröhlich's Fatso will prove you that your expectations were wrong. In fact, the Norwegian film Fatso is one of the few comedies about sex that, on the surface, looks vulgar, but hides many layers of depth.

Rino (Nils Jørgen Kaalstad) is a fat and lonely man living in an appartment. When he's not translating instruction manuals from German to Norwegian, Rino likes to watch pornographic films and jerk off. Besides, in his wildest dreams, Rino also sees himself as a sexually hungry rhinoceros named Captain Cock, a comic book character Rino created. One day, Rino gets a new roommate in the form of Malin (Josefin Ljungman), a beautiful Swede who came to Norway to study. While Malin treats Rino like a friend at most, Rino wants to achieve his dream: to finally get laid by Malin.

Unlike Canadian comedies about sex, Fatso certainly doesn't opt for subtlety. In fact, like most of its American counterparts, Fatso doesn't hesitate to display all stereotypes about fat people's loneliness. However, despite looking vulgar on the surface, Fatso definitely offers an analysis, with no holds barred, on how "normal" and obese people interact with each other. With a rather unapologetic use of female sexuality - if not nudity - Fatso deals with the topics of solitude, timidity, arrogance, our obsession to have the perfect body and sexual obsession with a crude - but definitely smart - honesty. Besides, the film has a knack at making you laugh you either pity Rino with an ounce of sympathy for him, find Rino dumb or are dismayed by the behaviour of the other characters towards Rino.

Finally, I can't add further thoughts on the film, because I don't want to give away too many details regarding the plot twist at the end. Other than that, besides being a nice feel-good comedy, Fatso is a diamond in the rough that explicitly and smartly underlines the most absurd traits of human behaviour when it comes to sexuality.

Rating: 4.5/5


Origin:Norway (2008)
Length:91 minutes
Genre:Comedy
Screenplay:Arild Fröhlich, Lars Gudmestad and Lars Ramslie
Director:
Starring:Nils Jørgen Kaalstad, Josefin Ljungman, Kyrre Hellum and Jenny Skavlan

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