Telluride Review: ‘Toni Erdmann’ Is as Hilarious as it Is Long

2016 TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL: “Toni Erdmann” was one of the big hits to come out of Cannes, and was a highly talked about selection when Telluride unleashed their slate of films this week. European acting legend Peter Simonischek stars as Winfried Conradi, a father who makes an unannounced visit to his aggressive, workaholic daughter in an attempt totoniposter reconnect with her. The titular role is actually Winfried’s alter ego, a strange man who enjoys playing pranks and carries a wig and fake teeth with him at all times. Together, the pair sets off to rekindle their relationship, as he tries to teach her to enjoy the small moments in life.

“Toni Erdmann” is an odd and hilarious film, with obscene and tawdry slapstick that worked for about 90 minutes. The problem with “Erdmann” is that it runs for an ungodly 162 minutes. There are simply too many notes, as “Amadeus” character Emperor Joseph II once put it. The film honestly just takes too many detours to get to the fantastic ending. While I enjoyed it, I couldn’t say that I would ever want to sit through it again, and can only imagine how great a much trimmed down version would have been.

As Germany’s official submission, I do believe “Toni Erdmann” will wind up with a Foreign Language Oscar nomination. The win is entirely possible too, as there are many here and abroad who have enjoyed it.

They should have just kept it short – like this review.

“Toni Erdmann” is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. It will play again in Toronto later this week, NYFF next month, and is scheduled for a Dec. 25th release.

GRADE: (★★½)