Yes Nurse, No Nurse

on September 03, 2004 by Kim Williamson
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The press kit for this film offers a one-line synopsis that pretty much describes the tale, that "Yes Nurse! No Nurse!" ("Ja zuster, nee zuster") is a fantasy musical recounting the adventures of the residents of Nurse Klivia's Rest Home as they combat the efforts of their nasty landlord and neighbor to have them evicted. The residents are an odd bunch indeed, but endearing to Nurse Klivia (Loes Luca) even as they are maddening to the hard-hearted Neighbor Boordeval (Paul R. Kooij), who has moneymaking plans for the property they inhabit.

Helmer and co-scripter Pieter Kramer was born in Utrecht, a wonderful town in the Netherlands noted for its sweets and canals. But his "Yes Nurse! No Nurse!" runs the risk of being so frightfully sweet your standard American moviegoer might find himself thinking of diving waterward. Kramer and co-scripter Frank Koutappels have done a good job of taking their tale to the screen, in that an earlier stage version--a sequence of 20 self-contained acts--has been made into one perfectly shaped three-part whole. However, the characters are all directed to play their goofy expressions for the back row, which might have befitted the boards but is offputting in the close-ups of camera. Moreover, the story is slight.

Although an impressive job has been done translating the songs--the English subtitles have a real lilt to them--for stateside moviegoers, the oompah music is likely to come across less successfully. One imagines this 2002 production might play best in Germanic communities with a significantly older demographic. For most specialized audiences in the U.S., though, in the end this "Nurse" is somewhat more nee than ja. Starring Loes Luca and Paul R. Kooij. Directed by Pieter Kramer. Written by Frank Koutappels and Pieter Kramer. Produced by Bunny Bos, Michiel de Rooij and Sabine Veenendaal. A Regent release. Musical. Dutch-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 97 min.

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