Joint Venture (1994)

[After I took a bit of a break over at the flimmit blog, I’ve restarted my reviewing there with a slight change in program: I’m now reviewing an Austrian movie every week and I thought, I’d also post reviews of those movies here. In short: there will be more reviews of Austrian movies on this blog.]

Joint Venture is a movie by Dieter Berner, starring Gregor Bloéb, Michaela Kuklová and Nina Franoszek.

Christian (Gregor Bloéb) works for his girlfriend Liane (Nina Franoszek): together, they get old fridges from Vienna to Prague, where they sell them on the black market. When they hear about a house right at the Vltava river that’s for sale, they are looking to expand their business. Unfortunately in Czechia, only Czech people are allowed to buy properties. So Liane and Christian look for a front man. Luckily, Christian stumbles upon Eva (Michaela Kuklová), a dancer in a hotel bar who is looking for a husband and a way out.

It always feels like Austrian movies are either fantastic or really bad but Joint Venture is the rare mediocre film. It’s rather predictable, but it has nice performances. It makes you grin, but it’s never really lough-out-loud funny.

I very much liked the cast. Gregor Bloéb was perfectly chosen for the role and he managed to balance his Christian between slimy asshole and fumbling likeability. Michaela Kuklová and Nina Franoszek gave good performances as well.

The script by Hilde Berger wasn’t bad either, albeit predictable and sometimes a little too silly. Especially the ending was really nice – and for an Austrian movie surprisingly feminist.

Dieter Berner tells the story at a good pace. The only thing that’s really missing is some laugh-out-loud gags. The lack of those, combined with the general nice-but-nothing-special feel of the film leaves you with the feeling that you’ll probably forget the movie within 24 hours.

But even if you really forget it that quickly, for the time you’re watching the film, you’re going to be entertained.

Summarising: Watchable, but not much more.


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