Maybe...Maybe Not (Der Bewegte Mann)

on July 12, 1996 by Christine James
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   Axel (Til Schweiger), a handsome, irresponsible philanderer who has always coasted on charm, suddenly finds his past misdeeds flung back in his face after his girlfriend Doro (Katja Riemann) kicks him out for repeated infidelity. Women hang up at the sound of his voice. No one will talk to him, let alone take him in. He goes to an acquaintance's weekly men's group meeting with the hopes of finding someone to put him up for the night. The flamboyant, overtly homosexual Walter (Rufus Beck) is the only volunteer, but his motivations are anything but altruistic. Finding no alternative, Axel warily accepts. But first, Walter and his friend Norbert (Joachim Krol) persuade Axel to join them at a party. Being the archetypal party animal, his spirits lift and he accepts, discovering too late that it's a drag queen costume party. Axel soon finds out what it's like to be treated as a sex object as the hunter becomes the hunted. After fending off countless advances, Axel, suspicions of Walter's intentions, insists upon going home with Norbert. Little does Axel know that sincere, polite, soft-spoken Norbert is even more dangerously smitten than Walter.
   Axel stays on with Norbert for some time. Norbert is under the delusion that he's making progress with Axel, despite Axel's unwavering heterosexuality and determination to win back Doro. Mixed signals lead to Doro finding Axel and Norbert together in a seemingly compromising position. But the misunderstandings don't end there. A likable cast keeps the energy high in this comedy of errors, or, in Axel's case, this comedy of not learning from your errors. Schweiger manages to make Axel sympathetic despite his egotism and immaturity; Riemann's Doro is amusingly sardonic while still emotionally vulnerable; Krol brings a clever, subtle sense of humor to the deadpan Norbert; and Beck is perfect as the effeminate, exuberant, opinionated Walter, whose articulate diatribe against inconsiderate theatre patrons is a highlight. Not surprisingly, "Der Bewegte Mann" stands as Germany's all-time biggest boxoffice champ.    Starring Til Schweiger, Joachim Krol, Katja Riemann and Rufus Beck. Directed and written by Sonke Wortmann. Produced by Bernd Eichinger. Comedy. German-language; subtitled. An Orion release. Rated R for sexuality and language, including some explicit sexual dialogue. Running time: 91 min.
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