Film & TV

Fatih Akin Goes for Happily Hapless in "Soul Kitchen"

Moving in just six years from critic-approved discovery (Head-On) to state-of-the-union meller (Edge of Heaven), with a fruitful detour into the music doc (Crossing the Bridge), Turkish-German director Fatih Akin now takes a break with a peppy Eurocomedy. Wild-haired young Greek-German Zinos Kazantsakis (Adam Bousdoukos) runs a lumpen-loved schnitzel joint in a former Hamburg warehouse. Events with socioeconomically loaded undertones send this Akin protagonist spinning: Rich, pasty-faced girlfriend (Pheline Roggan) chases a job in China, light-fingered brother Ilias (watch-twirling Moritz Bleibtreu) gets parole, crass childhood friend Thomas (Wotan Wilke Möhring) schemes to flip the property, and a militant new chef triggers clientele flight ("Culinary racists!"). But since the filmmaker's main agenda here is to keep things bumping along, the fraught situations are happily played and funk-scored as crowd-pleasing rather than issue-stroking. As the hapless, devoted, herniated restaurateur, Bousdoukos mugs, frets, and Frankenstein-walks with a winning excitability. Pseudo-retro fish-eye lensing, party-camera pivots, and obvious gags are among the movie's goofier features. Akin tends toward snappy plot lines, but the amiable sell of his latest movie turns that bug into a feature.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nicolas Rapold