Springing out of the teen comedy genre, this Israeli entry turns surprisingly dark and bittersweet. Despite being written in the 1970’s, Lemon Popsicle (editor’s note: this is a non USA format. You’ll need a multi-region DVD player to watch it) has a grand nostalgic vibe that will remind you of Grease … if it was set in Israel. There are all sorts of little surprises, little culture shocks — like ugly girls getting invited to the dance. This was a smash hit in Germany and Israel (it received worldwide publication), and got many sequels (the next two are watchable, though Lemon Popsicle 2 is very hard to find translated… I think people found it a bit dark). It’s a rare comedy that gets selected to be a country’s nomination to the Oscars (foreign language category), but this is certainly a worthy piece. It is an influential bit of cinematic history that few Americans have actually watched (there’s a reference to it in a Korean flick I was just watching). Be one of them.
For a teen comedy, it’s “mature”… not only are the guys headed after Gurlz! Gurlz! Gurlz! They’re also in the market to get laid… (with a hilarious turn from a chain-smoking whore).
You’ve got your protagonist, the boy who’s constantly failing to get lucky, his “Ladies Man” friend, and their chubby compatriot. Wacky hijinks ensue (and serve to bind the three together — after you’ve been through that, it’s hard to imagine not being friends), but the heart of the show is about the protagonist’s love for a girl… who is in love with his best friend.
It’s a frank movie, that admits that sex happens — and show the consequences. It’s not Grease, or any of the teen comedies (Superbad springs to mind) — it’s a nostalgic look back, that any teen will understand — as most of the teen drama is just as relevant today.
The best part is the ending… absolutely nothing like what Hollywood would lead to you expect. But I won’t spoil it.
Music: Surprisingly, mostly in English, a bit of a tip of the hat to rock and roll taking off across the world.
Translation: You want this subtitled. There’s a bit of a hilarious turn to British English in the middle (where the American translator apparently turned to an English person who knew more about Israeli slang), but other than providing a bit of humor, the translation’s a joy to follow.
Set Design and Lighting: Some of the comedic scenes are hilarious, all the moreso because of the merry havoc. The lighting is craftsmanship at its best, changing the mood from cheery sunshine, to a twilight escapade in a boat.
*Disclaimer: There may be biases or conflicts of interest in this piece, known or unknown. Watch the movie anyhow — it’s good.