Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman
"There's an innocence abour Ron even when he is at his most obnoxious, and his dogged spirit in the face of persistent injuries, seemingly endless humiliations and Angela upping the ante is endearing."

Meet Ron (Tim Haars). His inability to successfully pull off the stunts his friends dare him to do has made him an internet sensation. He drinks for free at his local bar, and he drinks like WolfCop. But his wife Angela (Maartje van de Wetering) is sleeping around, and bored of him. He just doesn't inspire her, she says. At that moment, Dutch A-lister Bo Maerten happens to be on the television. If he could seduce her, Angela tells him, then she would want him again.

Ron and Angela were childhood sweethearts. He has never wanted any woman but her. But in his determination to win her back, he accepts the challenge. It will be easy, says the friend who films his stunts. He just needs to find stunt jobs on all Bo's films, impress her with his heroic acts, and then declare his feelings for her.

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If getting laid were that easy, the world would be a happier place.

Bo's complete lack of sexual desire for the middle aged, overweight, hopelessly uncoordinated stuntman with the bad moustache isn't the whole of the problem. There's also the fact that her father was an alcoholic, so the last thing she wants is to be around someone who drives in to work with a can of lager in his hand. And there's also the fact that she has a boyfriend, the chisel-jawed, muscular and teetotal Waldemar Torenstra, who considers Ron to be a stalker. Still, our hero does not give up. In true Hollywood spirit, he believes that courage and persistence in the face of overwhelming odds can win the day.

Writer/directors Steffen Haars and Flip Van der Kuil are well known across Europe for their TV programme New Kids, and have made a name for themselves by pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable humour. That they get away with it here to the extent they do is largely down to how likeable Time Haars, Steffen's younger brother. manages to make the lead. There's an innocence abour Ron even when he is at his most obnoxious, and his dogged spirit in the face of persistent injuries, seemingly endless humiliations and Angela upping the ante is endearing. A fall guy in the literal sense, he still believes his dreams can come true - despite the fact that, at the very start of the film, the narrator informs us that he'll die in just seven weeks' time.

One of the more wayward choices at this year's Fantasia, Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman features highly entertaining turns from Maerten and Torenstra, both of whom are willing to send up their public images with some spectacularly obnoxious and outré behaviour. The film will be most appealing to native Dutch people who can fully appreciate these performances and the various jokes aimed at Dutch public figures, but there's a great deal about it that has universal appeal. There's also some impressive stunt work - safely pulling off a stunt that has to be seen to go badly wrong is no easy task. If that's not enough, the impassioned musical numbers by a self-spoofing Dennie Christian, whose attempt at a career revival is shown in parallel to Ron's story, are hilarious.

One point to note. Don't leave too quickly at the end. And don't leave too quickly after the end credits scene, either, even when the screen goes black. There's a whiole string of extra little treas here for cinemagoers who share Ron's belief in dedication and persistence.

Reviewed on: 22 Jul 2017
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Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman packshot
A failed stunt makes Ron an internet celebrity overnight, but his girlfriend still doesn't fancy him. The only thing that could change that, she says, is if he sleeps with a famous actress.

Festivals:

Fantasia 2017

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