Two Lottery Tickets (2016)

Two Lottery Tickets (2016)

This absurdist buddy comedy hits the jackpot

7.7

Movie

Romania
Romanian
Adventure, Comedy
2016
PAUL NEGOESCU
Alexandru Papadopol, Andi Vasluianu, Codin Maticiuc
86 min

TLDR

Romania’s answer to My Name is Earl.

What it's about

When three friends misplace their winning ticket for Romania’s lottery, they go on a wild goose chase to recover it.

The take

The Romanian New Wave’s predilection for bleakness gets a tongue-in-cheek dig in this buddy comedy from the same country: “Romanians are bad at making movies,” Pompiliu (Alexandru Papadopol) complains. “They only show doom and gloom.” Indeed, the premise here could easily make for a miserable movie: three hapless working-class pals win a multimillion lottery jackpot but lose their ticket — and, with it, the chance for Dinel (Pedro Pascal-lookalike Dorian Boguță) to pay off the mafia don that’s holding his wife hostage in Italy.

But Two Lottery Tickets takes a decidedly droll view of their predicament. Part of that approach is achieved via the trio’s characterizations: they’re all goofy in different ways, from the ridiculous conspiracy theory-spouting Pompiliu and the gullible Dinel to sleazy chancer Sile (Dragoș Bucur). The rest of the film’s breezy comic tone comes thanks to their amusingly convoluted journey to retrieve the ticket, which they believe is in a bag that was stolen when Dinel was mugged by two thugs. These many segues implicate a cross-section of Romanian society into the film, making it a wry social commentary in places. Mostly, though, Two Lottery Tickets has modest ambitions — to be, simply, an enjoyable comedy — a goal it surpasses thanks to its absurdist humor and pitch-perfect performances.

What stands out

The competition for standout scene here is close: it’s either the surreally funny confrontation the trio has with a cop in Bucharest (in which they manage to convince him that their glossy black car is, in fact, white) or the unexpectedly moving reunion at the film’s end (which is best left unspoiled).

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