In WOOF Detlef Buck tells little love and life stories in which dogs play an important role. And as is usually the case with episodic films, the quality here also varies greatly. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
The four best friends Ella (Emily Cox), Cecile (Johanna Wokalek), Lulu (Maite Kelly) and Silke (Marie Burchard) meet regularly for a girls’ night out to keep each other up to date on what’s going on in their lives. The dogs play a decisive role: Ella is abandoned by her boyfriend and adopts the mixed breed Bozer. Although this really messes up her everyday life, it also leads her to new happiness against all odds. Cecile is currently sliding into a marital crisis – but the gentle dog Simpson, with his nose, not only manages to be there for the children, but in the end even saves the family peace. And cat lover Lulu is dating a strange dog lover – a pretty tricky undertaking. Silke, on the other hand, as a professional dog trainer, gets along brilliantly with her four-legged friends, but she has problems with people – until she meets ex-footballer Olli (Frederick Lau)…
Movie explanation of the ending
He let us take part in Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Geiß’s trip around the world (“Measuring the World”), he brought the two cartoon heroines Bibi and Tina to life and he turned Jannis Niewöhner into a kind of stand-in Jordan Belfort (” “Asphalt Gorillas”). When you hear that Detlef Buck is responsible for a film project, you can never be sure what the end result will be. Except that What comes out of it, was created with passion. For his latest project “Woof”, Buck came to the dog, in the truest sense of the word, because the RomCom, which is told in episodes, is all about the USAs’ favorite four-legged friend. No less than ten million of them live in this country. Dog trainers like Martin Rütter not only achieve excellent ratings with coaching formats for pet owners, but now even fill entire concert halls with their anecdotes about dogs. In “Woof”, dogs accompany a whole series of men and women through the ups and downs of everyday life, becoming Cupid, a relationship problem or opening up unexpected job opportunities. This is really likeable most of the time, because it is precisely through the unifying element of the dog that the film, which actually functions according to formula F for a long time, gains in recognition value and character, but as is the case with almost every episodic film, the quality of the individual short stories also fluctuates strong here and depends not only on the script, but also on the actors who bring it to life. And there are also occasional downward outliers.
Oli (Frederick Lau) tries his hand at being a dog sitter.
According to his own statements, it was important for Detlev Buck to capture the phenomenon of the dog unconditionally accepting its owner in “Woof” and to emphasize at the same time what effect the four-legged friends have on “their people”. It is not uncommon for them to ultimately prove to be soul comforters who can help the two-legged friend out of serious crises. This love for the subject can always be seen in the finished film; even on a meta level, because “Woof” didn’t just work with trained film dogs. Some of the animals come straight from the street, so they are practically screen debutants. But without judging the dogs in the same way as the human actors, this idea proves to be optimal for highlighting the different characteristics of the dogs. Each of them is their own (or also: stubborn) type who optimally complements what is happening around them. This means that the dogs are sometimes even more exciting than the human actors. “Woof” has a well-known cast on the whole and also scores points with some ensemble members who we would like to see more often on the screen. But ultimately they all depend heavily on what the script by Andrea Wilson (“SMS for you”) has ready for you. And sometimes that might be a little more than the standard RomCom repertoire, which ultimately only gets a few fresh accents thanks to the omnipresent dogs that haven’t already been chewed through countless times in other films.
The emerging love affair between Ella and the uncomplicated forester Daniel is artificially inflated with the help of absurd conflicts until it ultimately heads towards its predictable happy ending. Cécile’s family problems surrounding her mentally handicapped son, who absolutely needs the good-natured dog Simpson while her husband feels increasingly disturbed by him, remain stuck in their beginnings and are instead sacrificed to an outrageous resolution. And the storyline surrounding cat lover and long-term single Lulu has nothing to contribute to what’s going on, apart from a date that gets unnecessarily hysterical and gets out of hand, for which Maite Kelly, with her affected manner, doesn’t necessarily recommend herself as an actress. The power struggle between the long-established dog whisperer Silke and the inexperienced new dog sitter Oli turns out to be really successful – especially because of a dynamically staged dog football game, which is undoubtedly the highlight of the film. Other highlights in “Woof” can be found in more detail. The conversations between Ella and her mother, who is so critical of her (Judy Winter is and remains simply a stunner!) are so aptly observed that you can empathize directly with both parties. And how evil, almost polemical Buck looks behind the scenes of the modern working world is also really great cinema.
Cécile (Johanna Wokalek) is attached to her Simpson.
The list of actresses and actors that Detlef Buck was able to win for “Woof” is long. Even tiny supporting roles were cast with familiar faces, which, as was the case recently in “Asphaltgorillas”, is unfortunately not always an advantage. Instagram star Stephanie Giesinger once again plays the seductress, who is mainly reducible to her appearance and who hardly gets the opportunity to prove herself as an actress. The same goes for Maite Kelly; It’s just that this character of hers, even in her few scenes, appears to be a bit too overzealous and annoying, and therefore quickly becomes the lowlight of the film. There are two actresses in particular who are particularly popular and will hopefully be seen on the big screen (again) more often in the future: “Jerks” star Emily Cox qualifies for further major cinema roles with her authentic, candid manner. Johanna Wokalek also plays here in a pleasantly reserved manner and particularly authentically, especially with the dog (“Instructions for Unhappiness”) fits her role like a glove and steals the show from everyone else in “Woof” without being overzealous. The same goes for Marie Burchard (“Class reunion 1.0”), whose performance adds a good portion of lack of vanity; just as her dog trainer character requires. The Lords of Creation Kostja Ullman (“My blind date with life”)Frederick Lau (“Playmaker”) and Kida Khodr Ramadan (“Only God can Judge Me”) can sometimes be seen in roles far away from the usual typecasting, which is particularly good for Ramadan. Nevertheless, in the end, the dogs remain the highlight of the film.
Conclusion: Like many other episodic films, the quality of “Woof” varies greatly depending on the episode. Both the dogs and a large part of the cast are convincing. In the end, this results in a film that is adequately described with the word “likable”.
“Woof” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from October 25th.