A Man Called Otto

Tom Hanks is the reason to see this American remake.

If you just moved into the neighborhood, you better hope Otto Anderson doesn’t insult you or criticize you so often, because he is one angry person. But if you do cross his path, and keep seeing him, you might see a side to him that left him in such a deteriorating state. And plus, you might be inadvertently saving him from his suicide attempts. That’s how depressed this man is.

“A Man Called Otto” allows Tom Hanks to play Otto, as the actor begins to age, but somehow become ageless simultaneously. Recycling the story from the Swedish novel and movie “A Man Called Ove,” this American version is made to cater American audiences, who like good stories and comedies that try to be goofy as they come.

Director Marc Foster and screenwriter David Magee don’t do much to the imagination with the story, but they do guide Hank with a certain kind of low key humor and emotional truth.

I can be pretty salty at times, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. I believe that some rude sentences deserve the BOTD. Maybe we shouldn’t completely judge a person, until we get to know him.

Otto is forced to retire given his age, and he lost his wife, unborn child, and parents. So, what’s there to be happy about. He’s lost the most important people in his life. It’s unimaginable. He always visits his wife’s grave with flowers, and talking about how his life has turned out.

While the Swedish film had an Iranian immigrant family coming into his neighborhood, we now have Mexican family with the pregnant Marisol (Mariana Trevino), her husband Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and their two girls. He’s less than amused by his new neighbors, but he ends up warming up to them, in his own slow ways. He struggles with his attitude, but he soon comes around.

“A Man Called Ove” was a poignant and truthful dark comedy with Rolf Lassgard in a phenomenal performance as the title character; “A Man Called Otto” is a good-hearted comedy with Hanks in a likable performance as the title character. We don’t need to watch the happy neighbor Jimmy (Cameron Britton) walking like they’re in some kind of silly parade; we should, at least, see how Otto deals with his new neighbors, and how Marisol tries to put her foot down with his attitude.

And both versions feature Ove and Otto reluctantly becoming the owners of cats who pop by. Does this cat sense something in this old man? Is he here to annoy him or act as a companion during his state of depression? These are purrfect questions (dare I say it).

A few years ago, I’ve suffered through “Coffee & Kareem,” which was about a nice white cop and a mean black kid, who hates this cop for dating his mom. He said so many horrible words that the TV-MA rating was putting it mildly. That kid had no truth or any personalities to make him redeemable.

Otto and Ove are old men from different universes who are old and grumpy, but they had something this brat will never have-a good side to him. I can’t call “A Man Called Otto” the next “Man Called Ove,” but I can recommend it for Hanks’ performance and for not being so self-indulging as an American picture.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: comedy, Drama, Remake

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