Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the Run Review: Who asked for this pointless cinematic sequel?

Rhea Srivastava -

Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the Run Review: Who asked for this pointless cinematic sequel?
Movie Rated

Format: Original Film
Platform: Netflix
Movie Rated: 13+
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Language: German
Digital Premiere Date: 7 August 2020


I’ll be honest. I went into this film not knowing much about the original series it was based on. A little Google magic taught me that ‘Berlin, Berlin’ was a mildly enjoyable German romantic comedy series from the early 2000s, which followed the turbulent love life of one Lolle AKA Carlotta. The show was loved by many for its cheeky sense of humour, charming leads, and its then-new millennial aesthetic. The opening credits would track shots of Berlin and capture the tribulations of young people surviving in the big city, albeit with a cheesy but catchy soundtrack. The show lasted for four seasons and the audience was invested in the will they-won't they storyline at its core. 
What is the Story About:
After she upped her life to be with her then-boyfriend in Berlin, Lolle (played by Felicitas Woll) found herself falling for her second cousin in an on-and-off relationship. By the time the show ended, and evidently fifteen years after its original events, Lolle (still played by Woll) had moved on from the hunky but unreliable Sven and decided to settle down in a committed partnership with Hart. When Sven crashes the wedding to get her back, she runs away and thus begins a new adventure - one in which she has a run-in with the meth-producing mafia, an ex-flame, an old friend, a new friend and finally with herself and what she really wants. 

Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the Run was delayed for a while for a theatrical release due to the coronavirus pandemic and finally found a direct-to-OTT release on Netflix. With German shows doing pretty well worldwide for the service (not to mention, tapping into their original demographic as well), I don’t find it completely unbelievable that the movie would have some takers on the platforms. But it seems unlikely that this audience would go beyond the nostalgia-hungry viewers who caught Lolle’s adventures in their original run.
One of the main connections that the show’s fans seem to mention is that it managed to capture a very specific lifestyle that young people living in and around Berlin at the time could relate to. Lolle has now grown older, and while that in no way suggests that we can’t connect to her, it is difficult to go beyond a point because her story is so bizarre and pointless now. Lolle, a then-struggling animator is now the showrunner for some of Germany’s most famous cartoon shows (characters that used to make interesting graphic appearances in the show and also do so in the movie). The fact that she wants to have a fulfilling life with a family is barely brushed over in a few minutes and the movie seems to be more interested in making her run around and making us chase her. The action is mostly focused on Lolle and a small-time crook Dana (Janina Uhse) who steals from her, and through some confusion, they end up in some village near Berlin sharing their innermost fears and a half-baked back story. 


There is a major attempt in the movie to establish friendships. Sven and Hart have had a fallout over Lolle (before the film’s events) and their pursuit to get her back rekindles their lost connection. Dana becomes Lolle’s unlikely ally, even though they hate each other in the beginning. Towards the end, old flame and friend Rosalie (the lesbian, as she is fondly called) returns and basically turns out to be a machine gun-yielding badass. It’s all noble in the way the film wants to bring loved characters back but neither do they seem to have grown in time, nor do we know why we need to be invested. The film hardly taps into Lolle’s metamorphosis into a career woman in the big city or either of her relationships. Instead, we have some madcap-style gags where a bunch of hippies have an orgy in a tent, Lolle and Dana run around in a towel, and Sven and Hart get chased by a bear. I pretty much summed what I remember of this random film in one sentence.
The charm of the characters and the actors portraying them remains intact after years. As mentioned, all the major characters are played by the show’s original actors and they all come across as having fun, earnestly and genuinely. Even the new addition of Janina Uhse as Dana is welcome, as well as Lolle’s assistant hacker Sharoukh. It’s just that the nonsensical script lets down all of the actors, especially Ms. Woll, immensely. There are points when Lolle’s subconscious speaks out as a narrator to the audience. It is these moments that are genuinely funny and heartfelt, but still far and few in between.

Presumably, fans of the original show will find it exciting that their favourite characters return to the big screen for a friendly hi-and-goodbye. It’s also always welcome to see a female buddy comedy with middle-aged protagonists. Keeping with the style of humour that usually made us chuckle at the time the show was originally aired, some jokes in the movie are pretty funny. Berlin, Berlin is dubbed in English so you can leave it on and forget about it. Other than that, I don’t really see any reason for this film to exist.
The fact that it is possible that the film may spoil your memories of the show, in case you have seen it. And for those who haven’t, may put you off permanently from watching the series, may come as a significant drawback. 
Music and Other Departments:
Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the run uses snippets from the series to give viewers some exposition on ‘what is going on’ and ‘now who is that over there,’ which is somewhat helpful for the completely clueless. It also incorporates some cute cartoon characters from Lolle’s imagination into real-life scenarios, although the climactic sequence is just too over-the-top. The film is shot and edited competently. The soundtrack isn’t really memorable.
Did I Enjoy It?
I’m still somewhat confused about what I watched, but I may need to wash this down by a better rom-com. So… no. 
Do I Recommend It?
If you’re a fan of Berlin, Berlin… maybe? Even then I’d recommend you watch reruns. The rest can easily skip it. 


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