15 years after the last episode of the popular comedy series BERLIN, BERLIN flickered across television screens, the title heroine Lolle is now returning one last time as part of a feature film. But it doesn’t offer much more than shallow fan service. We reveal why in our review.
One of the bright spots: Detlev Buck in the role of the judge.
The plot summary
Typical Sven (Jan Sosniok)! He bursts into the middle of Lolle’s (Felicitas Woll) wedding to Hart (Matthias Klimsa) and proposes to her in front of the crowd of guests. Completely confused, Lolle flees on a wild ride across Berlin. After an emotional outburst, she ends up in court and is promptly sentenced to community service at a school. There she meets Dana (Janina Uhse), with whom she has one thing in common: complicated men’s stories. After a crazy night of partying in the Berlin clubs, the two wake up the next morning in a car, not in Berlin, but in the Harz Mountains! Lolle wants to go back immediately. But the trip to Berlin turns into a crazy road trip that turns into a journey for both friends that changes their lives forever… but wait a minute! What about Sven’s marriage proposal?
It’s always the same thing with film adaptations of TV series. As a rule, the makers know that they will hardly appeal to anyone outside of the love interest they have already built up and can film things quite freely within the framework of the series cosmos. After all, you don’t have to establish new characters. Instead, you can take advantage of the opportunities that come with such a leap from TV, which is limited in terms of financial resources and production options, to the big screen. A few years ago, Bora Dagtekin handled this a little differently and yet identically. By simply placing the characters known from the television series “Turkish for Beginners” in a completely new setting and unraveling the story in a completely new way, the “Turkish for Beginners” movie was also pretty good for beginners to come into contact with Lena, Cem and Co. for the first time. On the other hand, you will mainly have enjoyed something like the “Stromberg” movie if you have followed the quirks, peculiarities and connections of the well-known series characters over many years. The “Berlin, Berlin” movie can be found somewhere between these two examples, because most of the time the action does not take place in Berlin, but in the Harz Mountains. One of the most important film characters has not appeared in the series at all so far and there is currently There are so many serial flashbacks in the first half hour that even a greenhorn can easily follow the events. But it helps to be a fan, because otherwise you’ll hardly find any of the events described here exciting, amusing, let alone really funny.
Where Lolle (Felicitas Woll) is, chaos is usually not too far away. Dana (Janina Uhse) now notices this too.
When “Berlin, Berlin” went on air on ARD on March 5, 2002, the series proved to be a real ratings winner on the public broadcaster’s evening broadcast shortly after it started. The escapades of the country ice cream Lolle, who from then on had to deal primarily with amorous escapades in the fashionable capital of Berlin, were followed evening after evening by up to 16.6 percent of the target group viewers. The format has won several industry awards (including the German Television Award) and has been sold to countless countries. A ratings booster made in Germany – the artistic decision to end the series after four seasons was not at all a given. It’s not entirely clear why we have to rehash the whole thing a whopping 15 years after the final whistle; 15 years are only a limited reason to talk about an anniversary; the year 2022 would have been much earlier. But be it: “Berlin, Berlin – The Film” is here and, simply because of its existence, should mean blissful hours at the cinema for all those who grew up with Lolle and her colleagues. The fact that the humor and the type of character interaction are closely based on what has earned the series so many fans may, on the one hand, be a concession to the fans; Fan service in its purest form. But this is precisely why the original shows its age. “Berlin, Berlin” would hardly be relevant today. This means that it is no longer a film.
One of the humorous cornerstones of “Berlin, Berlin” was always a silliness that came primarily from the chaos creator Lolle, which was carried by exaggerated characters and actors who acted close to overacting. The series created by David Safier was not a character study, but an ambitiously staged diversion without too much baggage of content; still a thousand times better than standard soap operas. The fact that director Franziska Meyer Price (“Männerhort”) was able to rely on a large part of the well-known series cast for the film – above all Felicitas Woll (“No sex is not a solution”) as the still hellishly planned Lolle – quickly restores the familiar character dynamics . But David Safier, who is also responsible for the script, throws this plus point overboard far too early. Jan Sosniok (“Danni Lowinski”) plays a more theoretical supporting role most of the time. Instead, the film focuses on Lolle and the newly introduced character of Dana, who has not previously appeared in the series and comes here with a dramatic background that clashes badly with the silly, anarchic comedy escapades of the rest of the plot. The rest of the cast only makes short appearances; It’s as if they wanted to remind the viewer that they hadn’t forgotten the “Berlin, Berlin” ensemble from back then, but that they didn’t really know what to do with them anymore.
By moving the action from Berlin to the Harz Mountains – the circumstances of which are constructed in such a way that the genre of comedies, which are already badly distorted by reality, is the only one in whose context this can just be allowed to happen – “Berlin, Berlin – The Film” wins. on a typical road movie dramaturgy. Lolle and Dana have to find their way home somehow and on their journey they get to know strange communities, dangerous animals and Armin Rohde (“So much time”) as a shady drug cook. The actually ridiculously high pace is all too often interrupted by unnecessary staging gimmicks. It’s really questionable whether there’s anyone left today who finds a slow-motion staring contest staged to “Play me the Song of Death” memory music funny, or can laugh at two men singing a lullaby to a wild bear, whereupon who then actually falls asleep. But it’s not just the old-fashioned joke that keeps “Berlin, Berlin – The Cinema” slowing us down. Newcomer Dana’s backstory, which leads to a truly dramatic finale, also fails completely to give the practical joke on the screen at least a little more substance. In the end, it was obviously more important to the makers to transfer the recurring animated characters (not cartoon characters like in the series) into the real setting. Here the makers would have liked to have scaled back the silliness a little in favor of loving character interaction.
Conclusion: “Berlin, Berlin – The Film” is undoubtedly fan service. But even die-hard lovers of the TV format actually deserve better than this largely aimless and planless Lolle odyssey, which actually just shows you why a series like this would hardly work today.
“Berlin, Berlin – The Film” is now available to stream on Netflix.