Now That’s What I Call Quite Good: Srdečný Pozdrav Ze Zeměkoule

Srdečný Pozdrav Ze Zeměkoule indexAlso known as A Heartfelt Greeting From Earth, this is another sci-fi comedy from Oldrich Lipsky whose work I’m an enormous fan of. This time it’s a fish out of water / unwelcome house guest affair as two very smartly dressed and polite aliens (Milan Lasica and Július Satinský) land on the planet so that they can report back to their bosses if Earth is a pleasant place to visit, and what the inhabitants are like.

Thanks to a computer on their planet the human being Dr Yanksy (Jirí Menzel) is chosen to be there guide as apparently he’s insignificant but will not to lie to them, and so he has to put up with the minor chaos that they cause as they explore the world around us, or the Czech Republic of the nineteen eighties at the very least. There’s is a largely positive take as well, with the two aliens finding a lot to like about the planet as they’re impressed by the inventions we’ve created, from televisions to cars to food and alcohol, and when they accidentally blow up Dr Yanksy’s apartment by leaving the gas on they’re even dazzled by the explosion.

Some of the time they interview various people asking the question “How would you react to a visit from an extra-terrestrial civilisation?”, with a few times it looking like a genuine interview with a non-actor, though there’s definitely some actors among the selection of people they ask as after annoying a night shift worker twice he beats them up. They’re only briefly irritated though, and soon after discovering the joys of nature and having sex with two strangely horny female lorry drivers they’ve only good things to say about the planet.

It’s a film with a decent gag rate and their adventures are always watchable, and the aliens confusion over sleep and the way they take apart a car in Yansky’s apartment are particularly funny moments. But it feels like it could have benefitted from a stronger narrative, there’s really no plot other than that they explore the city, get jobs, annoy Dr Yanksy and his girlfriend Jirinka (Nada Konvalinková) a bit, and every so often they report back to their superiors with Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy-esque descriptions of humanity and its exploits, accompanied with some very, very basic animation.

One bit when they’re seduced by the two women hasn’t aged well, in what could otherwise be a family film there’s some minor swearing, and a completely pointless bit of nudity when Yansky’s boss looks at some pornography. All of the dodginess could be removed and the film would only be about two minutes shorter at the very most, and it’s confusing that Lipsky chosen to include such things as presumably it could only harm the box office.

Otherwise this is a largely charming film, it’s very simplistic perhaps, and some of the animation so poor that it’s surprising they didn’t give the animator an extra tenner and double the budget of these sequences, but it is a film that made me laugh a good amount and that’s the main thing. Going in with low expectations will probably also help, but if you’re fond of droll observations about the world and minor bits of slapstick than this is the place to come.

★★★1/4

Alex Finch.
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Related Link:
You can watch it on youtube here, though alas there are no English subtitles. Though if you were to download it and then do a search for them on google you might find them, but I’m obviously not advising anyone do such a thing for legal reasons.

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