Shake It All About Hella Joof

Imagine the worst aspects of Four Weddings and a Funeral, combined with those of Italian For Beginners and throw in a soupcon of La Cage aux Folles and you will have some idea of the sort of predictable tragicomic plot twists and happy resolutions that place this Danish film squarely in the land of been there, seen that. Jacob (Mads Mikkelson) and Jorgen (Troels Lyby) are two men in love, and Jacob pops the question at a Christmas celebration. Immediately, Jacob begins to develop feelings for Jorgen's sister-in-law Caroline (Charlotte Munck). They embark on an affair that they attempt to end more than once. Their rather indiscreet assignations arouse suspicion among their friends and eventually Jorgen learns the truth. He runs off in despair with terrible consequences. Caroline becomes pregnant. Despite the havoc that has been wrought by Jacob's pathological ambivalence, all is forgiven and everything turns out for the best. Jacob, as well as being direly indecisive about his sexual orientation and what kind of loyalty he owes to whom, is cowardly and consistently awkward at handling the situations he created (I think this is supposed to be humour). Joof fails to reveal the magnetism that makes Jacob's lovers and friends treat his treachery as though it were a minor personality quirk. Nor do cinematic riches help this stale story of betrayal and reconciliation. The scenes are uniformly brief and shapeless, the cuts unrelated by either visual or literary threads. The camera records without an imaginative eye and the costumes are so unflattering that maybe the actors should have dressed themselves, or maybe they did. Despite being a film about couples and coupling, with a sprinkling of frank sex talk, Shake It All About generates less eroticism than your average Christmas pageant. (Mongrel Media)