TEDDY BEAR (10 TIMER TIL PARADIS) (director/writer: Mads Matthiesen; screenwriter: Martin Zandvliet; cinematographer: Laust Trier Mork; editor: Adam Nielsen; music: Sune Martin; cast: Kim Kold (Dennis), Elsebeth Steentoft (Ingrid), Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard (Toi), Allan Mogensen (Bent), Sukianya Suwan (Aoi), David Winters (Scott), Sukunya Mongkol (Phatnay), Jonathan Winters (Jeff); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Morten Kjems Juhl; Film Movement; 2012-Denmark-in Danish and English with English subtitles)
“Its hulking gentle giant non-professional acting star, the real-life bodybuilder Kim Kold, brings the muscles, heart and sensitivity to his role.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A sweet but slight story that scores more points as a quirky character study of a nice guy social misfit trying to find someone to love. It’s directed with compassion byMads Matthiesen, in his feature film debut, who co-writes the screenplay with Martin Zandvliet. Its hulking gentle giant non-professional acting star, the real-life bodybuilder Kim Kold, brings the muscles, heart and sensitivity to his role and makes the pic memorable as an endearing tale about finding love when it seemed impossible. It was previously filmed in 2007 by Matthiesen as a short.
Dennis (Kim Kold) is a painfully shy 38-year-old professional bodybuilder/security guard, who lives at home, in a small city just outside of Copenhagen, with his elderly possessive mom Ingrid (Elsebeth Steentoft). Her hubby abandoned the selfish lady before Dennis was born, and mom has since become a control-freak determined not to let her son leave home and finds comfort he’s still a virgin.
Dennis’s uncle (Allan Mogensen) marries a gentle Thai girl (Sukianya Suwan), and tells the lad Thai girls are easier to meet than Danish girl. After a horrible first-date with a Danish blonde tanning salon owner he met in the gym, Dennis decides to follow his uncle’s example and sneaks off for a week’s vacation to Pattaya City but tells mom he’s going to Germany for a competition. In Pattaya City, most of the male European tourist come for sex with the Thai girls, and everyone believes that’s why Dennis is there. The white European bar owner (David Winters), married to a Thai woman, who introduced Dennis’s uncle to his Thai wife, tries to fix Dennis up with girls who want money to sleep with him. This kind of sleaze turns Dennis off, and the socially awkward hulk retreats to a local gym to work-out. There Dennis surprisingly is attracted to the sweet and sincere middle-aged widowed gym owner, Toi (Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard), and she takes him around town showing him the more respectable local sites and they begin a tender romance.
Returning to Denmark, Dennis secretly rents an apartment and fixes it up so he can live there with Toi. When the laconic Dennis finally tells mom and Toi comes to live him in Denmark, it turns out just as difficult as he expected dealing with his hysterical mom who berates him for treating her so poorly. But Dennis’ love is too strong to retreat now and the imposing giant and tiny woman begin a real romance.
The minimalist script is acted out through the stark facial expressions of the closemouthed strongman, who seemingly is not a man of words and his acting is therefore limited. During the course of the film Dennis learns to think for himself and reach out for a love that is healthy and necessary for his well-being. Why a stud professional athlete seen in competitions isn’t getting laid all the time is hard to believe and makes the story feel forced, but Kold’s character portrayal is so genuine that I bought into the film while dismissing the contrived story as having little to say about the human condition. Everything worthwhile about the pic can be attributed to Dennis’ far-reaching facial expressions and the sympathy arouses from the viewer. If you’ve seen Marty, you’ve already seen a similar film.
REVIEWED ON 1/16/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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