Elling Review

Reportedly the most popular Norwegian film in the last 25 years, Elling proves itself as eminently worthy of its Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination. This hilarious tale about two neurotics just-outta-the-asylum and living together would get Adam Sandler-style slapstick treatment here in America. (Sadly, the Odd Couple and Cuckoo's Nest days seem to be long lost to U.S. filmmakers.)

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!

Facts and Figures

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

Cast & Crew

Director: Petter Næss


Starring: as Elling, as Kjell Bjarne, Jørgen Langhelle as Frank Åsli, as Reidun Nordsletten, as Alfons Jørgensen, Hilde Olausson as Gunn, Ola Otnes as Hauger