Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
by Garon Cockrell
Men To Kiss DVD Review
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June 15, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Men To Kiss is

a somewhat silly, somewhat sweet comedy about a gay couple in Berlin whose

relationship is put to the test when one’s childhood friend visits.

The film begins with voice over by Earnest (Frank

Christian Marx, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film): “Everything was so promising at the beginning.”

So everything that follows is a flashback, and Earnest tells us he moved to

Berlin, got a job at a bank. We are introduced to Tobias (Udo Lutz) when he arrives at the

bank, posing as a client in order to give Earnest his lunch. Tobias tries to

pass it to him under the table, under the watchful eye of a nosy co-worker. So

that suggests that Earnest is still in the closet as far as his job goes, and

we get the feeling that Tobias will play with those boundaries. However, that

never comes into play in the course of the film.

Earnest and Tobias (or Tobi) are two different types.

Tobi is the carefree, adventurous, playful spirit, and Earnest is the more

organized and serious citizen. There is a flashback within the flashback of

them meeting the day Earnest arrived in Berlin. And though they met in a club,

Earnest tells us in the voice over, “Clubbing

is simply not my world
.” (By the way, there are a couple of cute trannies

in that scene, played by Nina Queer and Barbie Breakout.)

Suddenly we see Earnest and Tobi in a camera frame.

Someone is spying on them from a van as they play ping pong, taking photos of

them. And later more secret photos are taken.

Meanwhile Tobi’s friends have become Earnest’s friends.

There is Leo, an old school friend, and Steffi, a psychologist who according to

Earnest’s voice over is as crazy as her patients (but that also doesn’t really

come into play). So Earnest is really immersed in Tobi’s world, and perhaps

feels that he is missing something of his own self.

Enter then Uta (Alexandra Starnitzky), Earnest’s best friend from childhood, who

suddenly calls him. They get together, reminisce about childhood, and Earnest

seems much more relaxed. She jokes he lost interest in her when her breasts

grew. She talks him into posing for a silly photo shoot (so of course then we

assume it was her taking the secret photos). Interestingly, she seems to bring

out Earnest’s most playful qualities (something one might expect of Tobi). So

we immediately like her.

That makes the scene where Uta meets Tobi so odd, because

it’s done in such a way as to put Uta in an awful light. So I assumed the scene

was supposed to be slanted from Tobi’s perspective, because he’s jealous. But

it’s done awkwardly, and Steffi also seems to dislike Uta. This scene feels all

wrong because our first impressions of this character were good, so it’s disconcerting,

even jolting, when other characters’ first impressions of her are so different

from ours. And then what I assumed was a dream sequence (when Uta threatens

Tobi with a nutcracker) turns out to be real. So now rather than being caught

up in the film, I am wondering just what the filmmakers want us to feel about

these characters.

There’s a somewhat steamy sex scene with Earnest and

Tobi. But suddenly in the middle of it there are secret pictures being taken.

That leads us to wonder, Where exactly is this person?  In the room with them?

After Tobi has a nightmare about Uta, he decides he can’t

take it anymore and calls his transvestite mother (Marcus Lachmann) to help get

rid of her. But another scene with him and Uta is really needed before he can

make a decision like that. A nightmare doesn’t count. Anyway, his transvestite

mother details a plan involving guacamole and sedatives. It’s very silly, but

also involves knocking Earnest out with a baseball bat. It gets more ridiculous

from there, when Tobi calls some other woman in to help.

Earnest is understandably upset when he comes to, and

leaves with Uta. Tobi then watches old home movies while sad music plays. Maybe

we’re supposed to feel for Tobi at this point, but he had Earnest knocked

unconscious with a baseball bat. So hell, I don’t think they should be together


It turns out that it was Uta who was secretly taking the

photos, just as we’d suspected. (Though she doesn’t seem at all the type of person

who would own a van, which we never see again, by the way.) Uta’s actions seem

unmotivated. Why does she suddenly show up? And why does she want to break up

this relationship? Is it just that she missed her friend? Or that she really

doesn’t think Tobi is good enough for him? It doesn’t seem that way. It seems

simply like crazy behavior, which ceases to be interesting rather quickly. And

when Earnest confronts her about the photos, she is cold and insulting to him.

She doesn’t try to defend her actions or save the friendship.

The movie ends with a long, pointlessly drawn out scene, which

leads to exactly the finale you expected all along.

There are some playful elements to the way the film is

presented. For example, after the main characters stumble out of Steffi’s home,

stoned out of their minds, the camera tilts with them, and we hear the sound of

a boat rocking on the ocean, which works to put the viewer in the characters’

frame of mind. And Frank Christian Marx is a truly engaging actor.

But some of the humor falls a bit flat, such as the taxi

driver who keeps asking where they want to go and has trouble finding his

keys.  And there are several elements

that are introduced but not developed. In addition to the nosy woman at

Earnest’s workplace and Steffi’s supposed lunacy, there is an early scene where

Tobi creates a suggestion box (decorated with feathers) for sexual fantasies

that Earnest can contribute to (anonymously, Tobi jokes) which he will then

make come true. I actually really like that idea, but then it is never

mentioned again. But perhaps the biggest problem is the film’s tone, which is

all over the place.

Men To Kiss is

presented in German with English subtitles.

Bonus Material

The DVD contains a few bonus features, including a making-of

titled “Men To Kiss: Behind The Scenes.” This consists mainly of interviews

with basically all of the cast members. Alexandra Starnitzky does admit that

people will wonder if her character Uta is evil or not. While saying she is “ruthless and sadistic,” she says she is

certain that Uta does love Earnest “in

her own special way
.” There are interviews with some crew members as well.

Everyone talks about the comradery on this project, which had an extremely low

budget. There are some interesting anecdotes, like Frank passing out due to the

heat. There is also some behind-the-scenes footage. This feature is

approximately twenty-five minutes.

The bonus material also includes seven and a half minutes

of outtakes, and the film’s trailer.

Men To Kiss stars

Frank Christian Marx, Udo Lutz and Alexandra Starnitzky. It was released on DVD

on June 11, 2013 through TLA Releasing.

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