Doua lozuri [Two Lottery Tickets] (2016)

Doua lozuri
Director: Paul Negoescu
Writer: Paul Negoescu
Based on: Ion Luca Caragiale‘s short story
Cast: Dragos Bucur, Alexandru Papadopol, Dorian Boguta, Nora Cupcencu, Andi Vasluianu
Part of: Let’s CEE Film Festival
Seen on: 25.3.2017

Sile (Dragos Bucur), Dine (Dorian Boguta) and Pompiliu (Alexandru Papadopol) are all in need of money, so they decide to play the lottery together – and they win. Unfortunately, though, the ticket has gone missing. Or maybe it was stolen? Hoping to get it back, the three friends take to the road, but things become more difficult than anticipated and the merry chase even merrier.

Two Lottery Tickets doesn’t bring a new story, but it does manage to be quite funny regardless – that is, when it isn’t being sexist and antisemitic. Unfortunately, it is sexist and antisemitic a lot.

After having watched The Treasure, I was unsure about watching another Romanian comedy, fearing a general incompatibility between myself and Romanian sense of humor. Two Lottery Tickets proved that this isn’t the case and managed to really make me laugh a couple of times (favorite moments were the vehicle control and the fridge at the end).

But inbetween the laughs, there were long stretches where I was either bored because the story was overly familiar (I actually did fall asleep for a few minutes a couple of times) or where I was utterly appaled by the mix of sexism and unveiled antisemitism that was presented as jokes. I could have really done without that.

I do think that tried and tested storylines or tropes can be used to make strong films – they usually are so well-tested because they work and that’s why people use them. But you have to know what you’re doing with them – and you can’t rely too much on them or else risk your story becoming stale.

And that’s what happened with Two Lottery Tickets. Apart from the aforementioned standout scenes, I doubt that the film would have been a big hit for me, even had they managed to cleanse it of the sexism and the antisemitism. As is, it left a decidedly lukewarm impression.

Summarizing: Meh.

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