It was sheer coincidence that I noticed this Danish offering in the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival listings. It caught my eye because it sounded reminiscent of Dennis, the short film about a shy Danish bodybuilder with mother issues. Turns out the short is the basis for this feature-length film.
Dennis (Kim Kold) is 38, lonely and unable to get a second date, much less a girlfriend. He takes his recently-married uncle’s advice to go to Thailand and find a lady. He sneaks off telling his pint-sized yet overbearing and controlling mother, Ingrid (Elsebeth Steentoft) that he’s heading to Germany for a bodybuilding contest.
In Thailand, Dennis’s efforts result in call-girl types. When he meets Toi (Lamaiporn Hougaard), they struggle with Dennis’s feelings of being objectified. This, however, is nothing compared to the tumult that erupts when he returns home (with a tan) and fesses up to his mother that he met a girl. She proceeds to tell him he must end it immediately. Dennis defies her. When she eventually learns the truth in a mall lingerie shop, it’s his chance to claim his freedom but is he strong enough to finally stand up to Ingrid?
Teddy Bear suffers from an unfortunately translated title but it’s an excellent character study about a tortured man. Kold embodies Dennis so well, you forget you are watching fiction.
The Hulk has nothing on this behemoth.
Co-writer/Director: Mads Matthiesen
Run time: 91 minutes