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Picks and Pans Review: Elling

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Per Christian Ellefsen, Sven Nordin, Jorgen Langhelle

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In this winning Norwegian movie (with English subtitles), which was up for a foreign-language Oscar in March, two long-term residents of a mental hospital are released to live on their own in Oslo. The efforts of the tightly wound Elling (Ellefsen) and lumbering, sex-obsessed Kjell Bjarne (Nordin) to cope are both poignant and amusing. Take the scene in which they tremulously venture into a restaurant only to discover that the pork-and-gravy special they had counted on ordering is not on the menu that day. Seeing their crushed faces, a kind waitress rustles up a couple of spare chops in the kitchen.

Much of Elling‘s charm has to do with the fact that it never pushes too hard. While the two men eventually begin to lead something resembling normal lives, with friends and even a sweetheart for Bjarne, it’s obvious life will never be easy skating for either. (R)

Bottom Line: Crazy fun