REVIEW: Wetlands

4 02 2015

WetlandsLet the record show that I am by no means an expert on foreign comedy since very little of it washes up on American shores.  Why is that, you ask?  To quote James Cameron, “As you go around the world, ideas of comedy change, ideas of beauty and romance change, but one man hitting another man plays the same way everywhere.”  So I speak only from knowledge of this side of the pond when I say that women are generally afforded fewer opportunities to be gross than men.

Seth Rogen sticks a probe up his butt in “The Interview” and no one thinks twice.  James Franco and Danny McBride verbally duel about ejaculation locations in “This Is The End” to nobody’s shock.  But when Melissa McCarthy dared to defecate in a sink during a hilarious scene in “Bridesmaids?”  It was, apparently, a watershed moment for women in comedy.  Talk about a gendered double standard.

If you think females should have the chance to go as nasty and coarse as their male counterparts in the name of a laugh, then the German writer/director David Wnendt’s “Wetlands” is a must-see.  The faint of heart or those with a working gag reflex might consider approaching with caution as something goes in and comes out of just about every orifice of its protagonist, Carla Juri’s Helen Memel.  She’s an odd, yet actually rather endearing, figure who relishes in shattering all social norms regarding sexuality.  That drive, unsurprisingly, leads to a number of zanily entertaining scenarios.

Yet, in spite of her unabashed unhygienic practices, Helen is mostly motivated by some rather sweet desires.  Above all, she wants her divorced parents to reunite; after that, the attention of an attractive male nurse attending to her after a freak accident involving hemorrhoids.  (That might slightly spoil the movie, but I think you also ought to know what you are getting yourself into by watching this movie.)

Without a genuine and likable guiding light, “Wetlands” might have played like a brutal taboo-breaking exercise that simply checked off potential offenses for the sake of checking them off.  But Wnendt makes them all serve a story, and it makes all the difference.  B2halfstars

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