When Curtis Gentry (Craig Robinson) relocates to Germany to get a new job, while still recovering from the death of his wife, the culture shock reverberates through his whole system. That system primarily includes Mo (Markees Christmas), his thirteen-year-old son who believes he will become the next big rapper … but now finds himself struggling to fit into the community he lands in, in Heidelberg.
While coming of age movies are a dime a dozen, an African American family dropped into a foreign country, wrestling with ‘single parenthood’ issues on the father’s side makes this one different. Christmas is a new discovery, and a solid one, Robinson plays his role with nuance (he’s a better actor than you might think considering the Hot Tub Time Machine franchise), and the film delivers.
Much of this is due to Chad Hartigan’s script (he also directs), ironically written by a guy who is Irish-American, but was born in Cyprus. I’d imagine he “gets” the outside-your-comfort-zone in a way that others might not, and it shows. One only wishes they could interview Hartigan to find out how his own experiences truly influenced the film beyond what commentary he provides. In fact, Hartigan won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival (as well as a Grand Jury prize).
In the end, this father-son film will make you think – and move you. It’s hard not to recognize the power of family when Gentry and Mo are “the only two brothers in Heidelberg.”
Special features on the Blu-ray and DVD available now include more funnies like the bloopers, while fans of the film will dig the deleted scenes, casting tapes, commentary from Robinson, Christmas, and director Chad Hartigan, and the lone “making of” featurette.