Mads Mikkelsen stars in this deliriously effective comedy from Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen, whose short film Election Night once won an Oscar (for Best Short in 1999).
From the start, Men & Chicken has a very distinct character, both in the style in which it’s shot and the actual characters you meet along the way, none of whom appear entirely normal. The plot centres around two brothers, Gabriel (David Dencik) and Elias (Mikkelsen), who discover at their father’s deathbed that he is not their real father. Thus begins a journey of hilarious proportions to find their actual father and the extended family they don’t yet know they have; namely three other brothers Gregor (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), Franz (Soren Malling) and Josef (Nicolas Bro).
There are plenty of surprises – and many laughs – to be had in this film that I won’t spoil. Go into it fresh, without knowing exactly what to expect. As it proceeds toward its conclusion, you begin to wonder whether the whole thing’s actually leading anywhere meaningful; while the experience with these five brothers, each one hapless and pitiful in his own way, is always entertaining, the film would have been missing a trick had it been all for nothing in the end. The best comedies, after all, are exactly that because they allude to serious subject matter. Rest assured Men & Chicken does so rather well, albeit in the craziest way possible.
To call the movie eccentric feels almost like under-selling it. There isn’t much else like this in the film market today, and it reminded me once again why I love the creative lengths to which European cinema is willing to go.
8 / 10