Otto's Eleven (2010) Poster

(2010)

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3/10
It makes you feel like walking through a burnt ruin, which you once was a palace
t_atzmueller26 September 2016
Otto (as usually playing himself or rather his stage-persona) and his friends live on the North-Sea-island of Spiegeleiland ("Fried Egg Island") and seek to lure tourists over the internet. Unfortunately they get a visit from corrupt Casino-owner Du Merzac (Sky du Mont; Otto's rival in this very first movie 30+ years ago, the name being a name-play on "stupid scumbag") discovers that Otto has inherited a valuable painting and decides to steal it. Otto and his entourage follow the thief to the mainland and, by digging a tunnel under his casino, try to return the valuable heirloom.

I've mentioned it in other reviews, but will say it again here: in his high time, the 1970's and 80's, there was virtually no way to get around Otto Waalkes. As kids, one would trade Otto-audio-tapes, books and other merchandise among each other, rattle down his jokes, which pretty much everybody knew by heart already and the parents would let their kids stay up late, so they could watch his stand-up routine (a mix of slapstick, linguistic humour, spoofs and musical interludes). Not to mention, this first cinema-movie ("Otto – Der Film") remains one of the bestselling local films of all times. Indeed, though no fancy intellectual humour, appealing more to the bourgeois rather than the high-class, Otto had built a memorial for himself – and that's pretty much where the decline started. Did I say decline? No, perhaps "decay" would be the better word yet.

In this 40-odd years, Otto has not changed or progressed one single iota, performing – or rather recycling – the same old jokes, sticking 100 percent to his quirky stage-persona (including during interviews), to an extent where one seriously asks himself: was this ever funny? And, if so, why? Sure, one can look through the rosy lenses of nostalgia but essentially it's like listening to an old, worn-out uncle, who (literally) keeps telling the same joke that amused you when you were a kid and he was still a young dude. In short: nothing short of pathetic. And it's not like Otto had reached a pinnacle with the pitiful display in "Otto's Eleven" yet – for that you'd have to wait another six years, until he produced and starred in "Kartoffelsalad", a movie – if you want to call it that – which very deceivingly stayed on the bottom of IMDb's "Bottom-100"-List for a good amount of time.

It must be said, Otto's greatest strength in his glory time was, that he had a touch on the pulse of time. His parodies were usually spot on and as he once quirked at his musical parodies: "I would just sit around and wait for a song to become famous, so I could take the p**s out of it". It's very clear here that Otto has lost that touch a long time ago. As one can imagine from the basic storyline, Otto and his crew merely spoof films like "Ocean's Eleven", "Ladykillers" and a number of other crime-films, peppered up with the same, lame old jokes that have been in his repertoire for a long, long time.

As for the rest of the cast: Mirco Nontschew's form of comedy can only be described as "pulling grimaces", Rick Kavanian is usually the sidekick of one of the most successful Otto-clones (Bully Herbig) and Max Giermann will probably best be remembered for his Klaus Kinski impersonation, which he performs to perfection, although the routine is getting slightly thin. Highlights would be Sky du Mont, an otherwise rather versatile actor, who unfortunately never got as far as he could have and Olli Dietrich. Dietrich, best known for his role in the improvisation-show "Dittsche", plays the journalist Harry Hirsch, which used to be one of Otto's most famous and enduring comedy-alter-egos. None of those mentioned are able to lift this flick beyond dire mediocrity. More than 3/10 I cannot give and even have a suspicion that one of those points came from sheer pits and for the old-times-sake.
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4/10
Not a successful parody, not a creative individual achievement either
Warning: Spoilers
"Otto's Eleven" is a German movie from 2010, so this one is also already way over five years old. It runs for 90 minutes roughly and was written and directed by Sven Unterwaldt Jr., the man who worked together with Otto Waalkes on several occasions. Waalkes also contributed to the script and the entire movie here is of course a bit of a spoof of the famous "Ocean's Eleven". I don't think I have seen that one, so I will not go any further in detail about parallels and differences, but if you know what this is based on, that's probably enough anyway. Otoo and his buddies live on an island and a wealthy guy comes to steal a painting that is very dear to Otto. And he succeeds with this stealing. Until then, the film is still pretty decent, but sadly that's not even the first half hour. Afterward, Otto and his buddies leave the island to get the painting back and the longer the story goes, the more boring and dragging it gets. This makes me a bit sad as I always found Otto pretty likable and I also like several of the supporting actors here, like Giermann, Dittrich and also DuMont, who gives actually one of very few really entertaining performances. If you take a look at the cast list, you will immediately recognize that there are many comedians in this one and while they may have comedic talent, I am not sure if they have range in terms of acting talent. This is probably one of the main reasons why several of the 11 were written in a way that their performances almost look like a collection of sketches, like Giermann's Raab impersonation for example. There is a funny scene here and there, but honestly in terms of quantity the really entertaining moments are only enough for a 45-minute film and not for something twice this runtime. And I also wonder what Arnd Schimkat was doing in here as he is neither a successful comedian nor an established actor, like Schwiers for example and it would explain her presence next to these German models. Anyway, this is not a good achievement overall in terms of acting, comedy or entertainment in general looking at the script. And while I said there are funny moments, I must also say that there are several unfunny moments that were intended funny and this really hurts the film. This movie here can certainly be considered an important chapter in Otto's downfall in recent years that resulted in his participation in "Kartoffelsalat", even if the latter is way worse again of course. I like him and I also like some of his older films that not too many appreciated. I hope that he can turn things round once again. Finally, I wish I could at least recommend this film to people who like any of the actors in here, but even I as a huge Olli Dittrich fan saw almost nothing appealing in the film or his performance and the whole "getting back the painting" plot was just way too flat for over an hour. Not recommended.
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