Directed by Mark Raso (2014)
“Copenhagen” feels like a student film populated with the director’s friends that just happened to garner a large enough budget to hit global theaters theatrically. I’m not sure who wrote the good review of it that put it on the digital “list” of films to see that I carry with me, but – ahem - I need to have a word. It’s a film with exactly two good things going for it. One is the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, which is displayed to lovely effect at all hours of day and night – and, crucially, in the summer, when it’s warm enough to see how it’s in the upper tier of the world’s great cities. The other is the story, which concerns a douchy American twentysomething guy, traveling with a friend in search of babes & booze, who gets left in Copenhagen by that friend and strikes up a relationship with a young Danish woman who is (for some reason) eager to help him find his lost grandfather. No really – in the right hands, this could have been something halfway decent.
Unfortunately, the right hands never landed anywhere near this thing. With a hugely unlikable protagonist, it neither works as a cute romance nor as the edgy art film it in turns wants to be. After the bad choices made by Raso, I place the blame primarily with the male lead, played by Gethin Anthony, who mugs and blusters his way through some awful dialogue without even the slightest bit of acting chops. His buddy – the one who leaves him for a time in Copenhagen – is perhaps even worse at his “craft”, therefore leading to my friend-or-neighbor-of-the-student-film-director theory, because no way either of these guys actually won a rigorous casting call. Right? Right?
Some dramatic tension ensues when we learn that the free-spirited Danish angel whom Frederikke Dahl Hansen’s Effy falls for is actually only 14 years old (“only a few weeks away from 15”) and, for reasons that only she knows, continues to try and seduce this loser despite him giving no discernible reason for being seduction-worthy in the least. Will they or won’t they? Will this awful dramedy take a pedophilic turn? I’m afraid I stayed to the very end to find out – if only to see some moonlit shots of The Little Mermaid again.