“Clean urine. You can buy it on the internet.”
The German film, Lommbock, from director Christian Zübert, was an accidental find. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was so funny, I wanted to add this buddy movie to German Literature Month 2021. Yes, I know, this is hardly literature, but what the hell.
Stefan (Lucas Gregorowicz) is back in Germany in order to get the necessary paperwork for his upcoming wedding in Dubai to Yasemin (Melanie Winiger). He’s met at the airport by his lifelong, slacker friend, Kai (Moritz Bleibtreu). Kai, with blasé that flies in the face of Germany’s drug laws, brings Welcome Back drugs to the airport in a pizza box for Stefan, and Stefan, frantically eyeing the airport police, dumps the box, berating Kai in the process. This early scene sets the tone between the friends. At one point they were social equals, but now Stefan is expensively dressed and looks every inch a success. He’s a former lawyer, about to marry into an extremely wealthy family, and in the process of opening a bar in Dubai, while pothead Kai, who owns a run-down, abandoned Pizzeria is married to breadwinner Sabine (Mavie Hörbiger) and has a stepson Jonathan (Louis Hofmann). Sabine has clearly outgrown Kai, and Kai has adopted hybrid gangsta-hip lingo and is convinced he’s the only one who can get through to his increasingly alienated stepson.
The plan is for Stefan to stay, briefly, with Kai, take care of the paperwork and then fly back to Dubai. What could possibly go wrong???? Stefan and Kai are soon back to their old ways and Stefan must find excuses to tell his fiancée when it becomes necessary for him to wait out a clean urine test in order for him to return to Dubai. Kai and Stefan, team up when Jonathan gets in trouble and their misadventures include a hunt for marijuana, a pot van and an institutionalized stoner.
Some scenes involve Kai’s (he’s high) rifts of how breast implants explode at high altitudes. Kai has theories about everything in the universe. His confidence is in sharp contrast to Stefan’s almost constant worries, and this is made even funnier by the fact that Kai, given his failures in life, should be the insecure one. Given this confidence dynamic, it’s easy to see why Stefan so rapidly drops his responsible veneer once off the Dubai leash.
The final section of the film takes place in Dubai and these scenes are boldly original. I couldn’t stop laughing. Underneath the humour runs a strain of Stefan’s homesickness, the idea of staying true to oneself, and the lure of selling out for financial security. Stefan didn’t realise how much he missed Germany until he returned. And then there’s his relationship with Kai. It’s fraught with problems and yet there’s still a deep bond and synergy between the two men.
The back story of this pizzeria which was a front for Kai and Stefan selling marijuana as part of the pizza delivery is the story in the film Lammbock (2001)