Monday, May 2, 2011

Kráska v nesnázích (Beauty in Trouble) (2006)

beauty in troubleTattooed hot mom Marcela (Anna Geislerová) and her husband Jarda (Roman Luknár) are barely managing after devastating floods in Prague destroy their home. The ordeal forces them and their two children to live in a chop shop where Jarda is now running his business. Their marriage strikes a critical point and Marcela leaves, taking the kids and moving in with her mother Zdena (Jana Brejchová) and stepfather Riöa (Jirí Schmitzer). Riöa is a conniving bastard who’s jealous of any attention Zdena squanders on anyone but him.

When Jarda is busted stealing a car, he lands in the pokey. Marcela has a chance meeting with the victim, Mr. Benes (Josef Abrhám), and BANG! First, they’re meeting for sushi. Next, she’s travelling to Tuscany with him, seeing what a stable life with this gentleman twice her age would be like. Therein lies the theme…does Marcela chose a life with a calm and boring but rich suitor or stay with her good-for-nothing bad-boy husband who possesses carnal skills that always more than hit her mark? Worthy of note is that this is post-Cold War and folks now have options, but does that change things for Marcela?

Riöa is a scene-stealer (possibly the entire movie). He’s sadistic and vengeful, but with a twist of dark humor you cannot deny. Another terrific performance comes from Kuba (Adam Misík)--Marcela and Jarda’s son--especially in his scenes with Riöa. Jarda’s mother, Libuse (Emília Vásáryová), is another standout. She’s devoted to her  son and to her church. Unbeknownst to her, her church is led by a crooked man who is trying to screw Benes out of land and money.

I didn’t love Beauty in Trouble, but it was beloved and received high  marks from ‘the critics’ (Rotten Tomato gave it an 85!). I cannot agree. It’s slow and uneven. Too many of the main characters are unlikeable. Much of the music (were they songs from Once?) was ill suited and manipulative. They should have added more of the lively accordion numbers.

Director: Jan Hrebejk

Country: Czech Republic

Genre: Drama

Run time: 110 minutes

Scale: 3.5

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