Griechenland [Greece] (2023)

Director: Claudia Jüptner-Jonstorff, Eva Spreitzhofer
Writer: Eva Spreitzhofer, Thomas Stipsits
Cast: Thomas Stipsits, Claudia Kottal, Katharina Straßer, Mona Seefried, Erwin Steinhauer, Gery Seidl, Margarete Tiesel, Andreas Vitásek, Kostas Antalopoulos
Seen on: 5.3.2023

One day, Johannes (Thomas Stipsits) will inherit a Viennese hotel from his mother Christine (Mona Seefried) and stepfather Friedrich (Erwin Steinhauer). But for now he has to contend with being largely useless and under Christine’s thumb. Even his girlfriend Julia (Katharina Straßer), who manages the hotel, is growing exasperated with his subservience. But then Johannes finds out by chance that his biological father, whose identity Christine has always kept secret, passed away in Greece and left him an inheritance. Johannes packs his bags to the surprise of everybody and makes his way to Greece. But people in Greece have their own plans for his inheritance, and Johannes might just be gullible enough not to notice.

Griechenland is a rather shallow comedy, but it is not too much of the usual to not be fun. I wouldn’t say that it is a particularly good film, but I’ve had worse times at the cinema for sure.

The film poster showing Johannes (Thomas Stipsits) sitting on a charir, with all the other main characters of the film standing around him.

Griechenland milks clichés for everything they have to give. There are not so much characters in the film than parodies of distillations of human beings. If you try to apply realism to any of them, or to any of the plot points, you will have a miserable time, that’s for sure. Like any comedy of errors, it stretches credibility beyond anything acceptable, but that isn’t really the point anyway.

There are jokes that work better than others. Johannes’ relationship with his biological father is the only part of the film where we get proper emotion mixed with all ridiculousness – and that makes the jokes work so much better than all the less bittersweet – and mostly just plain over the top – moments. The “sexy jokes” about the commune couple (Margarete Tiesel, Andres Vitásek) were mostly just uncomfortable and always gave off a rape-y vibe that I really didn’t appreciate.

Johannes (Thomas Stipsits) arriving in Greece.

The film certainly isn’t a feminist masterpiece. In the end, it’s all about Johannes leaving some of his softness behind – because that is only seen as weakness – so he can get the girl and a life. A queer couple is included in the most hetero of ways – it’s so in your face that I wished they skipped it entirely. And that even though I am always looking for more queer representation.

But if you take Griechenland for what it is and turn of anything in you that demands more of films, you will be rewarded with beautiful shots of Greece and a couple of laughs that actually work. It’s not that bad of an outcome.

Johannes (Thomas Stipsits), a guitar on his back and a bucket in his hand, looking at a chicken in front of the sea.

Summarizing: it’s fine.

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