But in director Petter Næss's hands, our heroes Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen) and Kjell Bjarne (Sven Nordin) become a latter-day Oscar and Felix. Or perhaps a latter day Felix and Felix -- both are so messed up it's a miracle they can work the telephone. Then again, this is the first major neurosis we encounter in Elling: He's afraid to speak on the phone at all. As the film progresses, we learn more and more about Elling's sheltered freakiness and Kjell Bjarne's sullen desire to fit in and "get some." Eventually Elling decides he's destined to be a poet and takes to secreting anonymous verses inside boxes of sauerkraut at the local market. Kjell Bjarne, meanwhile, takes up with a pregnant woman living in the building.
Outside of the context of the film, a realize none of this sounds very compelling or very amusing, but you'll have to trust me that it's one of the funniest movie experiences in recent memory. Sure, the gags are downplayed due to the inherent problems with jokes delievered via subtitles, but they hit more often than not. The movie's also full of good-natured fun and genuine heart that you can't fall in love with these two losers, maybe wishing they'd move in next door just so you could enjoy the show.
This Bud's for Elling. Skol!
Run time: 89 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th March 2001
Box Office USA: $63.2k
Distributed by: First Look Pictures
Production compaines: Maipo Film- og TV Produksjon
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 9
IMDB: 7.6 / 10
Director: Petter Næss
Producer: Dag Alveberg
Screenwriter: Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Axel Hellstenius
Starring: Per Christian Ellefsen as Elling, Sven Nordin as Kjell Bjarne, Jørgen Langhelle as Frank Åsli, Marit Pia Jacobsen as Reidun Nordsletten, Per Christensen as Alfons Jørgensen, Hilde Olausson as Gunn, Ola Otnes as Hauger