Director: Martijn Heijne | 93 minutes | comedy, romance | Actors: Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Loes Haverkort, Fabian Jansen, Roeland Fernhout, Eva van de Wijdeven, Sanne Vogel, Nick Vorsselman, Don Alphonso, Nick Golterman, Merel Heinis
In Germany they could laugh uncontrollably about it, the comedy ‘Vaterfreuden’ from 2014. The immensely popular Matthias Schweighöfer in his homeland – a man of many talents, because he not only directed the film, but also produced it and also played the lead role – easily wound the audience around his finger. German film audiences flocked to the cinema for their hero – did we mention he’s a singer and voice actor too? – let a ferret bite his genitals. For example, “Vaterfreuden” – which means something like “having fun in fatherhood” – brought in a whopping eighteen million euros. Filmmaker Martijn Heijne, whose feature debut “Sneekweek” (2016) gave the polder horror subgenre a small impulse, saw a potential in a Dutch variant of “Vaterfreuden” and set to work on the concept. The result is “Made for each other” (2017), a silly romantic comedy whose course you can predict in advance and which will do little good to the already tattered reputation of the Dutch romcom.
Compared to the German original, little has changed in the scenario. Felix (Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen) is in his late twenties who has no work, does not study and spends his days with parties and women. His brother Jelle (Fabian Jansen), who, as it is called, does not quite have an overview, is forced to live with him for a while, and he takes his honey-mad ferret Johnny with him. Because the two have nothing to do, Jelle proposes to donate their sperm for a lot of money at a fertility clinic run by Beau van Erven Dorens. That same evening, Felix ends up in bed with his gorgeous but married “friend with benefits” (Birgit Schuurman), who wants to experiment with him. She ties him to the bed, squeezes the accidentally available pouring honey over his naked body and then happily calls the home front. And that while ferret Johnny is not comfortable in his cage, but is free to roam the house. You probably already guessed where this is going …
In the hospital Johnny Felix appears to have nibbled through vas deferens, with the result that Felix’s “business” is still working, but he can no longer have children. He had never thought of ever wanting to, until now. Especially when he is confronted at his niece’s birthday party with all those small children, caring fathers and couples who want to keep an eye on their ovulation. Jelle sees his brother’s frustration and decides to break into the sperm bank to find out where Felix’s sperm has gone. He concludes that none other than the ambitious TV personality Jip Hagen (Loes Haverkort) – presenter of a “Over de rooie” -like format – must be the one who carries Felix’s child. Since it is his only chance of having a child, he tries to make contact with Jip, and although she doesn’t want to know about him at first, she soon thaws. Especially when Felix throws in his clever eight-year-old niece Mila. Although he also needs some white lies to be able to approach her.
With Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen, “Made for each other” has a sympathetic protagonist and this film absolutely needs that, because this predictable little thing falls short in almost all other areas. To get straight to the point: “Made for each other” is not funny and Van de Sande Bakhuyzen and co-star Loes Haverkort have no chemistry with each other. And let that just be two essential aspects of a cream bowl. Let’s face it: jokes about nibbled vas deferens, impending ovulation and births from hell are almost always silly and clichéd. In Germany they may laugh about that, but in the Netherlands we have a different kind of humor. Characters such as Jelle, but also Felix’s neurotic sister-in-law Monica (Sanne Vogel), Jips jerk of a friend Ralph (Roeland Fernhout) and her bossy agent and best friend Petra (Eva van de Wijdeven) are too caricatural to appeal to the audience and his friends are too colorless. We also often saw better Van de Sande Bakhuyzen, but in the land of the blind one-eyed is king. That it could have been more, we see in the sparse scenes that Felix has with eight-year-old Mila, whose big mouth is mainly a way of covering up her fears. In his efforts to win over Jip, Felix helps his niece overcome those fears.
Maybe German humor isn’t ours, maybe “Made for each other” was put together too quickly and not carefully enough. But with a romantic comedy that doesn’t give you more than a few chucklesrt and of which you do not believe for a moment in the budding love between the two main characters, you do not make the best turn. And that while quite a bit of talent is involved in this film, both in front and behind the scenes. Even for people who watch this movie with low expectations, “Made for each other” is a disappointment.