SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT (En Kort en Lang) Image

One of Denmark’s biggest ever box office hits, this light and breezy rom-com plays by all the standard conventions and keeps us laughing as long as we don’t try to take it remotely seriously. The story centers on the gay couple Jakob and Jorgen (Mads Mikkelsen and Troels Lyby), who are blissfully happy until Jakob starts an affair with Jorgen’s sister Caroline (Charlotte Munck), who’s married and has a young son. Naturally, this throws their entire community–family and friends–into a spin. Jorgen tries to cope, and to give Jakob a second (and third) chance. But it looks like he’s lost Jakob forever.
This is a guilty pleasure sort of film–lively and entertaining, even though we realize it’s not very good, actually. The problem is that director-co writer Hella Joof tries to deal with serious issues of infidelity and betrayal in the skin of a goofy and predictable rom-com. The actors are excellent across the board, but Mikkelsen’s Jakob isn’t nearly sympathetic enough for the central role–we don’t really want him to get back together with Lyby’s incredibly nice-guy Jorgen, who seems willing to put up with far too much of Jakob’s selfishness. Meanwhile, Munck’s Caroline is pretty dreadful herself, abandoning husband and son (Jesper Lohmann and Oskar Walsoe) to shack up with her “brother-in-law”.
Still, there are scads of colorful, less important characters around the fringes to keep us laughing, as well as a script and direction that plays on the strengths and tries to hide the formulaic story. And if the plot’s resolution is both obvious and improbable, at least it’s romantic. In a trite, clichéd sort of way.

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