Nicolaj Arcel’s relationship comedy from Denmark is a pretty bog-standard and predictable affain, but not without some fine moments.
34-year-old Mads (Thure Lindhardt) finds himself in a bit of a mid-life crisis. He’s unhappy with his perfect, loving, long-term girlfriend; terrified at the prospect of having children; frustrated at work as a “structure man” on a TV cop show when he wants to write his Great Screenplay; and plagued by visions of the one who got away, a girl who kissed him when he was 17.
It starts off promisingly, with his girlfriend delivering a heartfelt speech to him in front of family and friends at their housewarming party and his voiceover revealing he’s totally nonplussed. He breaks up with her, moves into a small flat and starts work on script ideas while having meaningless sex with a string of attractive women. He’s looking for the one he’s meant to be with, and a couple of times he thinks he’s found her. But as he goes through the motions and the obligatory life lessons he comes to realise the one he’s meant to be with is the one he dumped.
Nothing new or particularly original there, but along the way there are one or two mild surprises and some occasional neat directorial flourishes to hold the attention when the script begins to lose steam and the jokes dry up. I confess to a dislike for films that take “comedy-drama” too literally. Truth About Men is often hilarious in the first act, but rarely so for the rest of the duration when the drama takes over.
And here is when it begins to drag. Mads is an unpleasant character. He’s immature, selfish, thoughtless, shallow and cruel. His dilemma only exists because of these flaws and while it’s easy to laugh with his character it’s hard to care for him, which is what the writers ask of us.
The performances are mostly average, but the lovely Tuya Novotny as Marie makes a strong impression.
Things do perk up towards the end and the final moments are satisfying, but unless you’re familiar with Danish film and TV faces – many of whom apprently have cameos – and enjoy spotting them I wouldn’t rush out to see it.
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Stars: Thure Lindhardt, Tuva Novotny, Rosalinde Mynster