Playing it far too straight, as-it-were, for a manic comedy, this variant on the theme of a salesman on the edge of a mental breakdown still shines with the odd bright and breezy ray of hilarity, even if it never reaches a comical heat wave.
Not that Wolfgang Zenker has much to smile about, courtesy of his life about to go in meltdown when his boss decides to phase out his classic collection of quality clothes geared to the more mature woman, in favour of the cheaper Grazilla line aimed at the youth of the day. Determined to prove both management and rival salesman Steven wrong, things don't get off to a good start when he finds himself temporarily banned from driving, forcing him to enlist the unwilling help of his son Karsten. As Karsten's plans for sun, sea and sexual shenanigans give way to driving his father around, further domestic tensions arise in the form of a bathroom makeover that isn't and a mother-in-law from hell who seizes the opportunity to play her trump you'd be better off without him card, prompting his wife Erika to move out of the family home.
With mounting arrears and the world seemingly against him, you begin to wonder if life has any more surprises in store for Wolfgang? Well as sure as a bad coffee stain won't come out in the wash, you can rest assured that the fact that his in-the-closet son whose currently got the hots for his arch rival will come into play, as Wolfgang finds himself not so much having a bad day, but more a bad week!
Co-written with Tom Streuber, this lively debut from director Ingo Rasper is in effect a variant of the Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss piece Tin Men, given it plays heavily on the all-out-feud scenario between two bitter rivals for comic effect. Only in this instance, it adds the ingredient of a gay son whose loyalty to his increasingly disturbed father is tested to breaking point, by way of his attraction to his opposing number.
To that end and as much as Traute Hoess clearly relishes her scene stealing part of the Brigitta mother-in-law from hell and here think armed with a shotgun, it is Edgar Selge who takes centre stage courtesy of his emotional performance of a man verging on the edge of self-destruction. Yet ironically such is the strength of his portrayal that his character far from reaching out for your sympathy, instead has you rooting for his downfall, as he refuses to listen to any other viewpoint, bar his.
That the tender moments between Roman Knizka as openly gay salesman Steven and Florian Bartholomäi as the young man he admires are a joy to behold, kind of goes without saying. Only whilst Rasper here triumphs in delivering a largely non-camp cinematic depiction of the fashion trade, it's just a shame that along the way he let the camera focus far too long on an unsympathetic central character, rather than concentrate instead on the more dynamic Karsten / Steven pairing.