Release Date: May 23rd, 2007 (IFC Center) by IFC First Take.
The Cast: Jens Albinus, Peter Gantzler, Benedikt Erlingsson, Iben Hjejle, Henrik Prip, Mia Lyhne, Casper Christensen, Louise Mieritz, Jean-Marc Barr, Sofie Gråbøl, Anders Hove, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. Directed by Lars Von Trier.
In Danish and Icelandic with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Ravn (Gantzler), a company director, hires Kristoffer (Albinus), an actor, to pretend to be “Svend E.”, the company’s “boss of it all”, who has never been seen by the employees before.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite its intriguing premise, The Boss of it All doesn’t live up its expectations in terms of comedy and satire. The absurd plot begins when Ravn wants to sell his company to an Icelandic company headed by Finnur (Erlingson) and his employees want to see the company president, “Sven E”. It turns out that Ravn has always been pretending to be another one of the employees rather than the boss, so he hires an out-of-work actor, Kristoffer, to fit the bill as “Svend E”. Unfortunately, just when you think the comedy will kick into full gear when Kirstoffer enters the office, the attempts at humor fall flat on their face. Jens Albinus gives a decent performance, but his character seems unimaginative—the same goes for the situations he ends up in, when nobody believes that he’s the boss. The highlight is a desk that gets raised and lowered in awkward situations. If French comic actor Luis de Funès were still alive today, he would definitely been able to enliven such dull comedies with his mere presence. Writer/director Lars Von Trier should stick to what he does best: writer/directing dramas such as Dogville. In this case, he doesn’t take the comedy and satire far enough, so it feels rather bland. Also, his narration of the film is quite distracting and unnecessary. He could have easily increased the absurdity and slapstick full throttle, but his choice to play it safe makes for an underwhelming and ultimately forgettable experience.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Initially intriguing, but mostly unfunny, dull and underwhelming.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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