Guys and Balls (2004)


Guys and Balls might not win any awards for groundbreaking comedy, but the affable attitude and feel good atmosphere makes it one of the better exports of late. Maximilian Bruckner is Ecki, an awesome soccer player in a small German town hiding the deep dark secret that he’s gay. After he is accidentally outed in front of the whole town, and kicked off the squad by his angry arch nemesis and fellow teammate Udo (Carlo Ljubek), Ecki calls his ex-team to a game of homos against heteros. He’s got four weeks to pull together a motley group of misfits and turn them into a team to be reckoned with. One guess as to who wins, but that’s beside the point, because along the way, Ecki and his teammates learn a little about being a band of brothers and, for some, becoming comfortable and proud of who they are.

A simplistic story that relies more on entertainment than teaching any profound lessons, Guys and Balls never comes close to the camp of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but instead it falls somewhere between that and the other feel good soccer flick Bend it Like Beckham.

here! Films seem to have found a nitch for themselves with otherwise formulaic storytelling broadened by a gay slant. It sure worked for HellBent, the fantastic homage to slasher flicks, only in drag, and it’s well suited here too. Guys and Balls feels familiar but never fails to please with its engaging story and fine acting, especially from Christian Berkel as Rudolf, the previously-married-leather-fetishist who just wants his son to know who he is. It’s a touching moment when he first meets up with Jan (Marcel Nievelstein) after a few years of separation. Guys and Balls is full of these quiet moments, giving it an extra oomph that pushes it ahead of the current assembly line of gay themed films.

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