By Doug Brunell | February 17, 2004

Young Svea Lohde is one to watch. This little German girl, who plays the nine-year-old Connie in “Dr. Cuddle,” has more screen presence than that talentless horse Julia Roberts. Her on-screen friend, Rainer (Ralf Richter), is another actor to keep an eye on, too. The chemistry between these two is reminiscent of what went on between the leads in “The Professional,” though this film is a little more realistic and much less erotic.
Connie is good friends with her mother’s boyfriend, Rainier. Rainer is doctor for Wuppies (Furbies), but he becomes injured and needs Connie to deliver the stuffed creatures to him so that he can operate on them before they die … or so he tells Connie. In reality, Rainer is a drug dealer who makes Connie his unknowing runner, and things don’t go so smoothly once she’s in the picture. (As a public service announcement to Germans: American children are far more savvy when it comes to drug running. Our youth are raised on a steady diet of “Law & Order” and “Grand Theft Auto” video games. If you need drugs delivered without any annoying problems, you get an American. End of announcement.)
“Dr. Cuddle,” as strange as it sounds, is a nice movie. It’s heartfelt and touching, and it puts a human face on a world that is often stereotyped in movies. Oddly enough, it also kind of plays like a less kinetic episode of “Alias” (if that show focused on a young girl who runs drugs instead of a young woman who is a spy). The camera angles, the acting, and the everything-is-going-well-but-can-suddenly-turn-to-crap-in-an-instant feel makes a strong bridge between the two separate entities. And that’s a compliment.
There is something about these actors, the writer and director that shows that there is definitely some genius at work here, and one can only hope that the audiences at Slamdance won’t be the only people in America to see this film. Once again the Germans prove they can do interesting, off-beat movies that are far more intriguing than most of the filth we Americans cough up on a regular basis. Case in point: “National Security.” In the timeless words of Stan Lee — ’nuff said.

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