Fack ju Göhte 2
Director: Bora Dagtekin
Writer: Bora Dagtekin
Sequel to: Fack ju Göhte
Cast: Elyas M’Barek, Karoline Herfurth, Katja Riemann, Jana Pallaske, Alwara Höfels, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben, Anna Lena Klenke, Gizem Emre, Aram Arami, Runa Greiner, Lucas Reiber, Johannes Nussbaum, Uschi Glas
Seen on: 22.1.2016
The Goethe school is struggling as usual. The budget is tight and as every year it almost looks certain that their rival, Schiller school will get the best part of the budget. The Goethe school does stand a chance, though, if they can participate in a caritative project in Thailand. Zeki Müller (Elyas M’Barek) usually wouldn’t be the guy to volunteer for such a class trip (or for anything else) but as luck will have it, the diamonds he got from a heist years earlier and which he hid inside a stuffed animal, have been accidentally donated by his girlfriend Lisi (Karoline Herfurth) to just that project in Thailand. So Zeki packs his bags and his students and off they go to chase after riches.
Fack Ju Göhte 2 is one of the most consistent sequels I’ve ever seen: it reproduces not only the first film’s strengths, but also its weaknesses in detail. Meaning that it may not be particularly smart, but if you don’t think too hard, it can be funny and also that if you loved the first one, you’ll almost certainly love this one.
Fack Ju Göhte 2 shifts focus from Zeki’s relationship with Lisi (who gets conveniently detained by airport security and thus written out of the film for most of the time) to his relationship with Chantal (Jella Haase) – who was a fan favorite after the first film. And that relationship was nicely handled. Zeki’s reluctance to fill the fatherly shoes Chantal pushes him into, but his grudging acceptance that he has an effect on, and with it a certain responsibility for her and the other kids were nice to see. (Not that he should ever be seen as pedagogic or didactic example.)
But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have my issues with the film. There is the fact that they included a student on the autistic spectrum, Etienne (Lucas Reiber), in this film, giving rise to a whole slew of ableist jokes and in the end his aversion to touch is disregarded by forcing him into a hug which is somehow seen as the start of him getting better. The film also isn’t very kind to its women and sexism continues to be rampant.
A whole new direction of issues is the (neo)colonialist angle: at no moment does the film question why a German school class traveling to Thailand to build an orphanage there is a good idea. And to insult to injury, the one orphan they’re “saving” who gets a bit more personality is actually a German kid, Cedric (Johannes Nussbaum), who lost his parents and was stranded in Thailand after the tsunami.
Then again, if you want thoughtful treatment of the issues Fack ju Göhte 2 brushes past or anything at all, you should definitely choose another film. If you just want to lean back and watch Jella Haase steal another film, then Fack ju Göhte 2 is the film for you.