By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I recently looked up the name of the Scandinavian man-mountain from Fast 6 for a quick joke, and realized that I actually knew who he was beforehand, and had been meaning to watch his breakout movie. Kim Kold was the Danish Bodybuilding Champion before breaking into showbiz with the viral short film Dennis.
Just Danish Champion? People get bigger than this?
Teddy Bear re-teams him with the director of that short, Mads Matthiesen, and it expands it to feature length. Kold plays a shy bodybuilder who lives at home with his controlling mother, but wants to find a woman to share his life with. Between his dimensions and his awkwardness, that’s proven difficult in Denmark, so on the advice of a friend with a new Thai bride, he travels to Thailand to see if he can find a woman there.
This film is all Kim Kold’s and he carries it on his incredibly broad back. Simply seeing a man of his size in normal social situations is an object of fascination, but Kold has serious acting chops as well. The heart in the middle of his imposing bulk is big, sweet, and humane, and it’s impossible not to empathize with and root for the guy. He’s a Marty for this generation.
I could stare at just this all day
Matthiesen brings an unpretentious, character-based approach to filmmaking in this, and his directorial style is perfect for this story- capable and at times beautiful, but never in the way of the story. Speaking of that, it’s strongest in the beginning and during the trip to Thailand, where Matthiesen works in some commentary on the commoditization of everything there, and subtly touches on the strange taste the whole enterprise of foreign brides leaves in the mouth.
Goddamn, his mother is a sour-faced harpy. You’re going to want a beer to cope with her behavior, even if the performance itself is fine (albeit a bit one-note).
As good as the character sketches are, the plot they reside in is much less developed. When Kold does find love, it’s perhaps a bit too easy, and the awkward situation he puts himself in when he brings his lady home to a mother he knows won’t accept her feels like a last-minute attempt to raise the dramatic stakes, which the quick way in which it’s resolved then undercuts (without his girlfriend even batting an eye). Also, what’s with that urinal eyebrow-raised scene and Kold’s reluctance to have sex? A sly hint at steroid abuse?
Or do we have a Bullhead situation going on?
Kim Kold gives a star-making performance as a strongman with a heart of gold. Now he’s gotten a toehold in Hollywood, here’s hoping we see a lot more of him.
Take a Drink: whenever Mom does something clingy, control-y, or Oedipal Complex-y
Take a Drink: gym scene, brah!
Do a Shot: for every failed date